The start wasn’t the kryptonite of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. In fact, the opposite was the case. The Bolts played a solid 1st period and took an early lead on a Vlad Namestnikov goal, but a short stretch in the 2nd changed everything. Tampa Bay allowed 2 goals in just over a minute and could never recover, ultimately falling to the Calgary Flames, 3-2.
The 1st good opportunity of the game went to the Lightning. Alex Killorn nearly deflected a pass from Andrej Sustr in, but Brian Elliott was able to make the stop. The Bolts continued to fires away at Elliot and it payed off just over 6 minutes in. Vlad Namestnikov got his stick on a puck fired toward the net by Braydon Coburn and it payed off to give the Lightning an early lead. The team traded power plays shortly after, but neither team could take capitalize on the man advantage. After the Bolts killed off the Calgary penalty, the committed another mistake and had to go right back on the PK. The Lightning defense and Andrei Vasilevskiy held strong to kill off the 2nd penalty as well and held the 1-0 lead heading to the 2nd period.
Calgary got on the board early in the 2nd with a goal that looked pretty similar to Tampa’s goal in the 1st. Mikael Backlund deflected in a Mark Giordano shot for his 18th goal of the season for the tie. The Flames struck again less than 90 seconds later. This time Sean Monahan snuck the puck past Vasilevskiy for his 20th goal of the season. Brayden Point nearly tied it back up right in front of the net, but Elliott was able to keep it out to preserve the Calgary lead. The Lightning then had to kill of another Flames’ power play when Victor Hedman was sent to the box after he committed a holding penalty to prevent a breakaway chance. The Bolts were able to successfully prevent any damage on the power play for the 3rd time of the evening. Things got pretty physical in the 2nd half of the period with a fight and some big hits, but the score remained the same and we headed to the final frame at 2-1.
Tampa Bay had a chance to tie it up very early in the 3rd. Mike Stone was sent to the box for tripping just 34 seconds into the frame, but the Bolts couldn’t take advantage. The Lightning continued to put pressure on Elliott and the Flames, but still trailed by that lone goal as they crossed the halfway mark of the frame. The physical play that started late in the 2nd continued in the late stages of the 3rd, starting with a huge hit by Jake Dotchin on Matthew Tkachuk behind the Tampa Bay net. That style of play came back to bite the Lightning when Alex Killorn was sent to the box for tripping with just over 4 minutes remaining in the game. Dougie Hamilton picked up his 3rd point of the game when he scored on that power play to put this one out of reach. Nikita Kucherov added a power play goal with just over a minute to play, but it was too little to late for Tampa Bay.
The Bolts will now have the next couple of days off before they get back at it on Monday night. It will be a pivotal contest as they welcome division foes, the Ottawa Senators, Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 with pregame coverage beginning at 7 up the dial on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. Tampa Bay - Namestnikov - (Coburn, Point) - 6:17
1. Calgary - Backlund - (Giordano, Hamilton) - 5:04
2. Calgary - Monahan - (Gaudreau, Hamilton) - 6:25
1. Calgary - PPG - Hamilton - (Backlund, Frolik) - 17:02
2. Tampa Bay - PPG - Kucherov - (Hedman, Filppula) - 18:47
1. Calgary - Hamilton - (Tripping) - 6:27
2. Tampa Bay - Dotchin - (Tripping) - 10:30
3. Tampa Bay - Stralman - (Delay of Game) - 12:49
1. Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Holding) - 11:18
2. Tampa Bay - Dotchin - (Fighting) - 14:14
3. Calgary - Bouma - (Fighting) - 14:14
1. Calgary - Stone - (Tripping) - 0:34
2. Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Tripping) - 15:45
3. Calgary - Stajan - (Tripping) - 18:03
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 25
Calgary - 25