Tampa Bay Lightning drops 2-goal lead, falls short in OT to Minnesota Wild

The Tampa Bay Lightning started off with a two-goal lead but ended up losing in overtime against the Minnesota Wild.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took their show on the road for the first time this season as they made their way to the Xcel Energy Center to take on captain Mikko Koivu and the Minnesota Wild. Despite forcing an overtime period, it would be the Wild who would walk away with the two points.

The Lightning definitely had their fair share of work ahead of them if they wanted to bring home the two points against the Wild. Mere moments into the start of the game and the Wild were celebrating as the puck made its way past Andrei Vasilevskiy and into the back of the net. Thankfully, the celly wouldn’t last long.

Before the in-rink crew could even get the goal horn going, the referees were waiving off the goal. As one could easily imagine, this was music to the ears of Tampa Bay Lightning fans and pure torture for Wild fans.

Prior to puck drop, Lightning fans were left cringing when they found out NHL referee Gord Dwyer would be one of the officials in tonight’s contest. Anyone who knows anything about hockey knows Dwyer has no love for the Lightning; especially Bolts forward Cedric Paquette.

Because of this knowledge, Lightning fans were pleasantly surprised when the first real call of the night was in favor of the Bolts. Of course, this was only the first of many calls to be made throughout the night. Only time would tell if Lady Luck would remain on the side of the Bolts.

The Lightning has been, for lack of a better word, electric over the course of the last couple of games. Leading by one goal in the first period just wasn’t enough for the boys in blue. Just past the halfway point in the first period, the Bolts would bring home their second goal of the night with Yanni Gourde picking up the rebound and registering his third goal of the season.

Regrettably, the next celly would belong to the Minnesota Wild. An ill-timed turnover by Vasilevskiy would lead to the Wild picking up their first goal of the game courtesy of forward Charlie Coyle. Definitely not the worst thing in the world that could’ve happened, but also something the Bolts will want to manage moving forward.

The good news is, there is a bright side here. The Lightning was itching to get that goal back, and get it back they did. Less than two minutes after the goal by Coyle, the Bolts answered with a goal of their own. This time, it would be J.T. Miller who would light the lamp for the Bolts.

At some point, the Tampa Bay Lightning community should really put together a gift basket for former New York Rangers GM Glen Sather and current GM Jeff Gorton for all the tremendous players they’ve sent our way. Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman, J.T. Miller, and Ryan McDonagh have all registered points tonight.

Did we forget to mention this was all within the first 20 minutes of play?

Sadly, it would be the Minnesota Wild who would get the upper hand in the early moments of the second period. Just under four minutes into the second period of play, the Wild would pick up their second goal of the night thanks to Marcus Foligno. Foligno’s goal would make this a one-goal game once again.

The Wild has made up a lot of ground in the early moments of the second period. Through the halfway point in the period, the Wild outshot the Bolts 7-3. Andrei Vasilevskiy had to fight off a barrage of shots and two pretty tremendous scoring chances from the Wild to keep the Bolts on top.

Whereas the Lightning controlled much of the first 20 minutes of play, the Wild were the ones in control during the second period. The lone goal in the second period went to Wild forward Marcus Foligno, who brought this back to a one-goal game.

The tension was palpable by the halfway point in the period. The gloves had come off more than once and the Wild seemed to be getting under the skin of the Lightning. This is something the Bolts would definitely have to get under control if they wanted to hold onto their lead until the final buzzer sounded.

The Wild got their very first opportunity with the man advantage in the early moments of the third period when Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was sent packing for two minutes for Holding. The Lightning’s penalty kill, which remains perfect through this current point, prevented the Wild from registering a single shot on goal during their first Power Play attempt.

The Bolts would get another crack at the Power Play as Charlie Coyle made his way to the sin bin for two minutes for Interference against Tyler Johnson. Regrettably, the man advantage would be short-lived as Brayden Point was sent off for two minutes for Interference against Mikko Koivu.

The penalty to Point would expire, but the Wild still ended up with the advantage as Zach Parise would pick up his third goal of the season to tie the game. The Bolts would now have just under 10 minutes to regain control of the game and get back on top.

So, the Lightning’s excellent penalty kill record remains intact, but the Bolts would now have to fight tooth and nail to get back to where they were just moments earlier and bring home a victory over the Wild. At the end of the day, this game is going to come down to which team wants the two points more.

Just when Bolts fans thought things couldn’t get more frustrating, well…they did. Less than three minutes after the Parise goal, the Wild would gain their first lead of the game as forward Jason Zucker picked up his fourth goal of the season, making the score four to three in favor of the Wild.

There were just under five minutes left in the third period when the Tampa Bay Lightning would officially get back in the game. Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman would pick up his first goal of the season thanks to a tremendous feed from Yanni Gourde to tie the game for the Bolts.

Stralman had a scary moment a little earlier in the game when he blocked a shot with what looked like his lower jaw or potentially his collarbone. Thankfully, he was not forced to miss any substantial time away from the ice and was able to make a difference later in the game.

The Wild did just about everything they could to regain the lead in the final moments of the game. Thankfully, Andrei Vasilevskiy was laser-focused and was able to prevent the Wild from making any significant moves in the final minutes of the third period.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota would be headed to sudden-death overtime. The good news is, this means the Bolts would walk away from this game with a minimum of one point. The bad news, well…the Bolts were headed to overtime.

Despite a valiant effort by the Lightning, it would be the Wild who would bring home the second point in tonight’s contest. Mikael Granlund beat Vasilevskiy with less than two minutes left in the overtime period to score his third goal of the season and bring home the victory for the Wild.

Tampa Bay Lightning
4
Minnesota Wild
5

This was not what one would call a “bad” game for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but there are definitely some things the Lightning needs to work on. One of the more glaring issues is something the Lightning has struggled with for quite some time now.

The Bolts continue to suffer from what we like to refer to as overpassitis. In other words, the Lightning makes the one extra pass which totally backfires and ultimately aids in swinging the tide towards their opponents. Everyone likes a team player, but sometimes you have to be selfish and simply put the puck on the net.

Regrettably, the Wild simply seemed to want the victory a little more tonight. The Wild seized control of the game in the second period with the goal from Marcus Foligno. From there, the Wild would go on to score two additional unanswered goals and snatch the game right out of the hands of the Bolts.

The Lightning finished off the game with the classic “too little, too late” as Stralman picked up his first goal of the season and second point of the night to force the overtime period. Despite what would turn out to be a valiant effort, the Bolts simply couldn’t seal the deal.

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning doesn’t have time to sit back and reflect on their loss. The Bolts head back out on the road tonight as they make their way to the United Center where they will take on the Chicago Blackhawks in less than 24 hours.

The Blackhawks are going to be just a tired as the Lightning tomorrow night, having taken the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The difference in these two situations is the Blackhawks will be coming into tomorrow night’s encounter with momentum on their side, having defeated the Blue Jackets 4-1.

Next: Johnson Hat Trick Propels Bolts Over Hurricanes

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It will definitely be interesting to see how the Tampa Bay Lightning responds tomorrow night in Chicago. This encounter is the Lightning’s second road game of the season and their first back-to-back series thus far. The Bolts will definitely have their work cut out for them.