The Tampa Bay Lightning started out the game with a bang; however, fail to come through in the end and drop the final game of their four-game road trip 4-2 to the St. Louis Blues.
The game started a little slow, but the good news is that the Lightning struck first. Just over the seven minute mark in the period, Teddy Purcell would intercept a pass in the offensive zone and quickly get the puck to center Alex Killorn who would find the back of the net for the first goal of the night.
Both sides would make some decent attempts at the net, but again, it was the Lightning who would pull the trigger. At just over the 14 minute mark in the period, the Bolts would find themselves on the Power Play as Blues left wing Brendan Morrow was sent off for two minutes for High Sticking Martin St. Louis. Twenty eight seconds into the Power Play, the Lightning would capitalize on their opportunity with a goal from center Tyler Johnson; his 18th of the season. The assists on the goal would be accredited to St. Louis and defenseman Victor Hedman.
Despite the fact that they were outshot 12-6 in the first period, the Lightning managed to head into the second period up 2-0 on the Blues.
Unfortunately, this is where the celebration ended for the Bolts. In the second period, the Bolts would drop not one, but two goals; on of which would come while the Bolts were on a Power Play. This would tie the game for the Blues. The Lightning would be outshot once again in the second, this time 10-6.
The third period would not get any better for the Lightning.
To add insult to injury, the Blues would score one more goal, this time on the empty net; squashing any hopes the Bolts had of a last minute comeback. As I said before, the Bolts would ultimately fall to the Blues 4-2
I am finding it very difficult to figure out just where the Lightning are starting to take the wrong turn. The last two games in a row, the Lightning have started off with a bang, having a multiple goal lead, only to drop the game in the last two periods allowing multiple unanswered goals.
I am willing to give the Bolts the benefit of the doubt that they have been plagued with injuries as of late; however, this will cease to be a valid excuse really soon. Lightning center Steven Stamkos is nearing a return date, Anders Lindback has finished his conditioning stint in Syracuse, and both Valtteri Filppula and Tyler Johnson returned to the lineup tonight. Other than our other long-term injuries, with the exception of Radko Gudas, we are about to be back at full strength.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel, no matter how dim it may seem at the moment.
As I said before, there is a good possibility that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be getting Steven Stamkos back by the time the Lightning come home for their six game home stretch on Thursday. Also, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be going up against the Buffalo Sabres. This will be a definite change of pace from the teams that the Bolts have been facing on the road trip.
This may provide the Bolts the time they need to ease Stamkos back into the rotation, refocus their efforts, and get back on a winning track. If not, their playoff contention may just be in danger.
What do you think the Lightning need to do to get back on track? Where do you think the Lightning have made the wrong turn in the past two games? Let us know what you think in the comments below.