The Tampa Bay Lightning went into their Tuesday night match up at the Tampa Bay Times Forum against the Los Angeles Kings looking to extend their consecutive point streak to eight games, and continue to try to climb back into the playoff race. They fell short in that goal, falling to the Kings 3-1. For the Lightning, it was a disappointing set back to what was an impressive run over the last two weeks. It was not for lack of effort, however, as the Lightning played a strong game, and just could not capitalize on the chances they did have. Los Angeles was able to shut it down after getting a three to one lead and the Lightning were never able to get back into it from there.
“They’re good,” Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said. “I thought we had some chances. They are a tight checking team obviously, but I think we had some lapses where it cost us and I thought we had like I said before some quality chances, especially early in the game, either we missed them or their goalie made some big saves. I knew it was going to be a tight checking game and that’s what it was, and we didn’t find a way.
The Good: Steven Stamkos. Stamkos, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday on Tuesday, once again led the way offensively, scoring his 35th goal of the season. Stamkos probably should have had number 36 as well, but the puck flipped over his stick in the slot in the first period with a wide open net looking at him.
Ryan Shannon. Since returning, Shannon has been one of the best players on the ice for the Lightning. In almost twenty minutes of ice time on Tuesday night, Shannon used his speed to cause turnovers on the fore check as well as set up numerous scoring chances.
The overall effort. Even though the score did not reflect it in the end result, the Lightning were not bad in this game, they were just unable to finish the opportunities they had. (More on the below.) If that is the effort on most nights, the results will be there.
The Bad: Missing opportunities. Midway through the first period, the Lightning had a shift where both Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos should have scored easily. Instead, nets were missed and shots were flubbed. This point in the game was a prime time for the Lightning to get momentum on there side, and instead, the Kings kept the momentum after an early goal.
Strange Sequence: Midway through the second period, the Lightning nearly scored on a Victor Hedman shot. It was close enough that it fooled the in arena horn operator fired off the horn. At the same time, a penalty was expiring to Kyle Clifford and Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi found him while he was exiting the box. Clifford went in and scored the go-ahead goal for the Kings.
Standings Watch:With the loss, the Lightning now sit nine points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Southeast Division and a full ten points behind the Ottawa Senators for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.