Steven Stamkos said on Thursday morning that the Bolts would have to weather an early storm on Thursday night before they got their legs under them. The Lightning were coming off of 7 days off and playing the best team in the Western Conference, the Vegas Golden Knights. The storm Stamkos talked about came very early. Vegas scored less than a minute into the game and carried a 2-goal lead to the middle frame. The Bolts did seem to get their legs under them when an Ondrej Palat goal cut the lead in half near the halfway mark of the period. That stretch of great play for the Lightning would come to a screeching halt late in the period. David Perron’s goal with just over 2 minutes left in the period seemed to switch all the momentum and the Bolts couldn’t recover. Vegas extended their lead in the opening minute of the final period and never looked back in the 4-1 victory.
The Bolts knew it would take a few minutes to get their legs back under them coming off of the bye week. It did, but to their chagrin it didn’t take the Golden Knights any time at all. The All Star representative from Vegas, James Neal scored the opening goal just 56 seconds into the game. The Bolts did get their legs under them after that. They had numerous chances to tie the game up, but Marc-Andre Fleury was stout and kept them off the board. The Lightning had another hiccup late in the frame. Andrei Vasilevskiy couldn’t glove a blistering shot from Nate Schmidt. That goal doubled the Vegas lead heading to the middle frame.
The 1st half of the period was fairly uneventful until a single sequence changed all of that. William Karlsson committed a tripping penalty to put Tampa Bay on the power play for the 1st time in the game. The Bolts took advantage of that chance. Steven Stamkos fed the puck to Ondrej Palat who put the puck behind Fleury to cut the lead in half. The Bolts committed a penalty of their own right at the 14 minute mark of the period. The Lightning PK performed beautifully to kill off that chance, but made a fatal mistake shortly after. David Perron put a shot past Vasilevskiy that the Lightning goaltender probably would want to have back to extend the lead back to 2 heading to the final period.
That late period goal seemed to take all the air out of Amalie Arena. If the beginning of the 3rd was any indication, it took all of the air out of the Lightning as well. All it took was 18 seconds for Vegas to extend their lead to 3. William Karlsson was able to put it past Vasilevskiy off of a won faceoff. That would be plenty for the Golden Knights who held onto that 4-1 victory.
The Bolts will face another Western Conference foe the next time they hit the ice. That will come on Saturday, but they will have to go on the road to do it. The puck is scheduled to drop at 9 pm against the Minnesota Wild. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. VGK - Neal - (Engelland, Perron) - 0:56
2. VGK - Schmidt - (McNabb, Haula) - 16:03
1. TBL - PPG - Palat - (Stamkos, Kucherov) - 10:18
2. VGK - Perron - (Engelland, Theodore) - 17:43
1. VGK - Karlsson - (Marchessault) - 0:18
1. VGK - Karlsson - (Tripping) - 9:04
2. TBL - Gourde - (Hooking) - 14:00
1. TBL - Dotchin - (Slashing) - 3:29
2. VGK - Bellemare - (Interference) - 9:42
3. VGK - Karlsson - (Tripping) - 11:23
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 29
Vegas - 30