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Without Kucherov, Lightning lay another egg on home ice

Following the opening night 6-2 drubbing by the Pittsburgh Penguins, The Tampa Bay Lightning got back on track. The Bolts gutted out a 7-6 overtime win in Detroit last Thursday night and followed it up with another OT thriller: a 2-1 victory in Washington over the Capitals. Tuesday night, the defending Stanley Cup Champions returned home. In similar fashion to opening night, the Lightning were soundly defeated.

Lack of Kucherov and a missed 5 on 3 opportunity sets tone

The Lightning were missing a key part of its power play unit and offense in general in this game. Nikita Kucherov exited Saturday’s contest in Washington with a lower body injury. The early prognosis is that Kucherov will miss extensive playing time. The effects of not having Kucherov were on display early and often Tuesday.

It is often said in hockey that teams who fail to score on 5 on 3 opportunities usually don’t win. But, Tampa Bay found themselves with a prime chance early in this game. Joe Thornton and Anton Lundell took penalties 26 seconds apart. The result was 1:34 of 2 man advantage time for the Lightning. Tampa Bay had chances but could not convert on either penalty. Following his release from the penalty box, Lundell took a breakaway in on Andrei Vasilevskiy and was denied. Vasilevskiy came through with save after save to keep this game as close as it was. The team’s would head off the ice after 20 minutes in a scoreless tie.

Montour breaks through

4:35 into the second period, Erik Cernak took a slashing penalty, giving the Panthers an early power play chance. The Lightning appeared to successfully kill the penalty. But, with 4 seconds to go on the man advantage, Florida won a faceoff in the Tampa Bay zone. Brandon Montour took control and whipped a wrist shot past Vasilevskiy to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

While Montour’s goal was the lone of the second period, the Lightning benefited from 2 power plays in the frame. But much like the result in the opening period, the Kucherov-less power play could not get in sync and each chance was denied by Florida goaltender Spencer Knight.

Power play stays cold, Florida pulls away

Brayden Point injected some life into Amalie Arena early in the third period. The lone highlight for the Bolts came at the 2:36 mark when Brayden Point ripped a slapshot past Spencer Knight to tie the game at 1-1.

The tie was short lived, however. Aleksander Barkov capitalized on a loose puck and unorganized scrum in front of the net at the 3:40 mark to put Florida back on top. Florida was on cruise control for the remainder of the game.

The Lightning power play came up empty 2 more times in the third to finish 0-6. Anton Lundell extended the lead to 3-1 at 13:19 and Anthony Duclair found an empty net to give the Panthers a 4-1 win at Amalie Arena.

Up Next

The Bolts will be off until Saturday when the Colorado Avalanche come to town. Puck drop is set for 7:00.

3 Stars:

  • 1. Sam Reinart
  • Anton Lundell
  • Spencer Knight


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