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Red Hot Lightning lose in Overtime in La La Land against the Kings

The red hot Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of their last five games, visited the Los Angeles Kings tonight. Sure, the Bolts want to keep up their winning ways but unlike the opponents in their last game Thursday, The Kings are not the San Jose Sharks. Los Angeles is in third place in the Pacific Division. Like the Lightning, they are also playing to ensure a postseason berth.

As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the start in net for the Lightning. Mitchell Chaffee gets the start as Connor Sheary sits. For the home team, Cam Talbot is between the pipes. Kevin Fiala, Adrian Kempe and Anze Kopitar are their two big offensive players.

Playoff Feel

From the opening puck drop, this game felt more intense than the last few Lightning games. The Kings seemed to be skating in fifth gear. From the start, they were creating some offensive zone time and a couple of good looks at Vasilevskiy in the first few minutes. The Bolts did gain their composure and had a good scoring chance created by their red hot number one line of Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Duclair. 

As the initial period hit the seven minute mark, the Lightning fumbled the puck as they attempted to get it out of their zone. The Kings captain, Kopitar secured the puck and found himself on a 2 on 1 man advantage. Kempe, standing at the blue paint, tipped in a pass from Kopitar and lit the lamp for the game’s opening goal. Shortly after this, the Lightning had to kill a penalty and the momentum was clearly in favor of the Kings. There were four very good scoring chances for Los Angeles on their power play but Vasilevskiy stopped them all and kept the score at 1-0 for the home team.

Need to Find Their Compete

As the opening period progressed, the ice seemed to balance out though Vasilevskiy had to step up on several shots by the Kings. By the end of the period, the Lightning were doing their best matching the speed they were seeing from Los Angeles and were awarded a power play with 18 seconds left in the first period. 

Just 13 seconds into the power play, Point scores the tying goal with 5.7 seconds left in the period. Kucherov fumbled what looked like a pass to Point in the bumper spot but the puck slid its way to Point nonetheless who seemed to fumble the shot a bit too but somehow got the puck past Talbot to tie the game. Those goals given up in the last minute of a period are energy killers. Los Angeles was seconds away from taking a one goal lead into the first intermission. Now, when they come out for the second period, we are back where we started. It has to hurt in that Los Angeles locker room.

Brand New Game

Any lift the Lightning may have come into the second period from their last second tying goal in the first period was short lived. Less than two minutes into the middle period, the Kings again flying in the Lightning zone got some puck luck as they scored to make it 2-1. The puck squirted past a couple of Lightning defenders and Trevor Moore of the Kings found himself all alone in front of the Lightning net and backhanded the tie breaking goal. 

About five minutes after the Kings goal, the Lightning went on their first power play. They got a couple of good scoring chances and plenty of zone time but came up empty leaving the score at 2-1 Los Angeles. The speed of this game seemed to be non-stop. Both teams seemed to be skating downhill all night long. This wasn’t the kind of game to play on your heels. The speed added to the playoff like intensity but the score remained 2-1 in favor of the Kings.

Can They Stay the Red Hot Lightning?

The Lightning have played very well on the current road trip. They have won the first three games against Florida, Vegas and San Jose. There is no question they want to keep the streak alive. At this time of year, every game is big. Every point is needed. Both teams were playing knowing a win looms large.

Just like the second period, in the first two minutes of this final period, the Kings scored a goal. On an odd man rush, Mike Anderson snapped a shot past Vasilevskiy to put Los Angeles up 3 – 1. While this goal didn’t completely take the wind out of the Lightning sails, it definitely put their backs against the wall if they are going to keep their winning streak alive.

With less than five minutes left in the game, the Lightning were on the power play. Winning streak on the line. The power play has been lights out during the last five games. Their first goal tonight was with the extra man. Sure enough, Steven Stamkos blasted a shot past Talbot to bring the Lightning to within one goal. It is now 3-2 Kings.

Need a Last Minute Miracle to Stay Red Hot

Coach Jon Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy as there were three minutes or so left in regulation. Clearly, the Lightning were not going to give up their win streak easily. With the extra man they got extended zone time and it paid off. Carrying his team on his back, Stamkos scored the tying goal with 46 seconds left in the game. Heading to OT with a chance to maintain the streak. It was not to be. A whole 25 seconds into the overtime, another odd man rush led to Valdisov Gavrikov all alone on Vasilevskiy. Gavrikov snapped the game winner past the blocker of the Tampa goalie to give Los Angeles the 4-3 win.

Three Stars 

  1. Steven Stamkos – 2 goals in the last five minutes of regulation to earn his team the point for the tie.
  2. Anze Kopitar – 2 assists in the1200th NHL game for this future Hall of Famer. 
  3. Brayden Point – 1 goal and 1 assist 

What’s Next

The Lightning play another game tomorrow or actually later today in Anaheim to close out this road trip against the Ducks. Puck drop is at 8:30 pm.

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