The Tampa Bay Lightning’s two game road trip began Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 defeat in Minnesota against the Wild. The trip marks the first of the season against the western conference.
Tampa Bay came into Sunday riding a three-game win streak that began last Sunday against Minnesota in a shootout. Following the win, the Wild now have a three-game winning streak of their own following last Sunday’s meeting with the Lightning.
The first two periods went back and forth as both teams traded goals. Tampa Bay never led and eventually were unable to answer Minnesota’s third goal just before the midway point of the third period.
Let’s break down what went wrong.
1. Struggles in Minnesota Continue
Minnesota has been a difficult opponent for the Lightning over the course of their existence. Tampa Bay has beaten the Wild just two times in Minnesota with the last time coming in 2011. While they only meet twice a year and just once in Minnesota, the Wild have been a difficult opponent for some reason or another over the years. With the win, the Wild have now won six of the last seven meetings with Tampa Bay
2. Perry Heating up
Don’t look now, but Corey Perry now has a point in each of the last four games. He put the Lightning on the board in the first period on a wrist shot to the top right corner. His first goal last week against Philadelphia was labeled for the exact same spot of the net. Perry’s goal, assisted by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, evened the score at 1-1 48 seconds after the Wild scored the game’s opening goal.
3. Second Period Penalty Kill
The Lightning were shorthanded three different times in the middle period. All three penalties were committed by Zach Bogosian including a delay of game penalty for knocking the Lightning net off. The Lightning penalty kill was able to pick up Bogosian as they were able to kill off all three penalties. Despite having six minutes on the power play in the period, Minnesota was only able to record two shots on goal.
4. Powerplay Can’t Come Through
While the Lightning penalty kill had a strong effort, the powerplay struggled. They were unsuccessful on all three powerplay opportunities they were awarded, including two in the third period. The biggest missed opportunity came when the Lightning were unable to convert on the powerplay trailing 3-2 with under seven minutes to go in the third period. Tampa created six shot attempts during the man advantage and got four shots on goal. Beyond this time on the man advantage, the Lightning were not able to create much else offensively in the final period as they ended with just eight shots on goal in the final frame.
5. Joseph Leaves in Third Period
Mathieu Joseph left the game in the final period following a collision with Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman. The two collided awkwardly in front of the Wild net and Joseph fell to the ice and looked to bang his head on the ice. Joseph did not return, and Jon Cooper did not have an update on his status but noted that he was removed from the game by the NHL’s concussion spotters. With the Lightning banged up, losing another top six forward would make things even more difficult going forward. Tampa Bay will be back in action Tuesday in St. Louis against the Blues.