Having given up nine goals in consecutive losses at home, the Lightning were looking to reinforce themselves defensively. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this game, the first of the eight consecutive ones on the road for the Bolts. While Lightning reduced the number of odd men's innings they allowed, they still had problems with turnovers, urgent coverage and zone coverage. It was another game in which they allowed a goal directly from a lost neutral serve. And another in which they were delayed early and were forced to pursue a deficit for the rest of the night.
The most important objective of the game was the power count of Jared Spurgeon at 10:07 of the first period. He broke a goalless draw and put the teams in opposite directions. The Wild, who came from their week of rest, settled into their game after that goal. For Lightning, the goal was to deflate. They had started the game well, at least in terms of attacking the Minnesota area with speed. But they were not able to translate those opportunities of attacks in shots in the network. Instead, many of Lightning's best looks missed the network (they finished the first period with 20 total shooting attempts, 10 of which failed on the network). Spurgeon's goal came three seconds after the start of the power play, when Eric Staal won the match and Spurgeon broke a one-shot ball that caught Vasilevskiy's stick.
The Wild took control after that, building a record possession advantage and owning most of the scoring opportunities. They added a second goal at the end of the draw, when Zach Parise deflected Ryan Suter's shot past Vasilevskiy. The Lightning unsuccessfully challenged the objective and I confess that I do not understand why the objective was not canceled. When Parise turned on the side of the net, his staff made contact with Vasilevskiy's staff. Certainly, it seemed that contact with the club affected Vasilevskiy's ability to stop the shot, which went by the side of the post. But obviously, the officials did not agree and allowed the goal to be maintained.
The second period was quiet for the Lightning. Until the Brayden Point target at 3:35 pm, they generated very little pressure. The Wild enjoyed almost all the possession of the puck during that time and added to their advantage when Nate Prosser opened in the right circle and scored Minnesota's third goal.
Point's first count ignited the Ray and the Bolts had a good pair of scrolls to close the second. But they could not hold it in the third. A zone rotation d and coverage lost in Marcus Foligno led to another Minnesota account at 3:10. Although Point took the Lightning to 4-2 when he scored during a five-on-three power game, the Lightning could not build on him. Just before the goal of the point, Ondrej Palat left the game, so Rayo had to go the rest of the way with only 10 strikers (they wore 11 forwards and seven defenders). But he also gives credit to the Wild. After Point's power play, Minnesota defended very well without the puck and prevented the Lightning from having a dangerous appearance.
The Lightning have now allowed four or more goals in four consecutive games and five of the last six. It's not a winning formula: the Bolts have only 2-4-0 during that span and have lost three consecutive for the first time all season. Certainly, a more strict defensive performance is needed, but also obtaining the advantage would help the confidence and arrogance of the team. They will try to get back on track in Chicago on Monday.
Lightning Radio Great moment of the game:
PPG of Spurgeon.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Eric Staal – Wild. Two assists
- Jared Spurgeon – Wild. PPG
- Brayden Point – Lightning. Two objectives