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Burns: 3 Things we learned from an overtime loss in Winnipeg

Beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 5-4 overtime loss in Winnipeg on Sunday

by Bryan Burns /

The Tampa Bay Lightning got a well-deserved point to open their four-game road trip through Western Canada.

But the Bolts' eight-game win streak came to a close, one game shy of tying the franchise record.

Winnipeg earned a 5-4 overtime victory Sunday night at Bell MTS Place, Mark Schefiele striking with 42 seconds remaining in the extra session to send the home crowd to the exits happy. The Lightning held a 4-3 lead in the third period but couldn't make it stand up, the Jets tying the game with 5:37 to go to force overtime.

"It's a stinging feeling for sure when you have a lead like that late on the road and can't close it out," Ryan McDonagh said following the loss.

Tampa Bay held leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3 in Winnipeg but could never extend its lead to two goals to create some separation. The Jets hung around, got the game into overtime and made one more play than the Lightning to earn the hard-fought victory.

"It's tough, we had the possession we had and we probably passed on a bunch of shots in overtime," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "But we had some looks. They got the last one that went in."
The Lightning will look to rebound when they play game No. 2 on their four-game road swing Tuesday at Vancouver, a team that defeated the Bolts 4-1 in the second game of the regular season.

But how did Sunday's game get away from the Lightning?

We'll examine in Three Things we learned from an end to a win streak.

In each of the first two periods, the Lightning gave up a goal in the final minute to erase a lead.

In the first period, Mathieu Perreault scored on the power play with 17 seconds to go before the intermission to tie the game 1-1 heading into the locker room. Perreault's goal followed Alex Killorn's marker, the Lightning forward catching the Jets in a line change on the Bolts' opening power play to get alone in on goal and roof a backhander into the net.

In the second period, the Lightning built a 3-2 lead after Steven Stamkos answered Brandon Tanev's goal with one of his own to tie the game 2-2 near the midpoint of the middle frame. With less than two minutes to go in the period, Tyler Johnson found a puck through a host of bodies, wheeled and fired past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck from the slot to put the Lightning back in front. Johnson's go-ahead goal was set up by Mikhail Sergachev, who hammered a shot from the blue line that was blocked in front, allowing Johnson to scoop the loose puck and score.

Again, though, Winnipeg had an answer. With 41 seconds remaining in the period, Blake Wheeler found Nikolaj Ehlers all alone in the right circle, and Ehlers one-timed a shot past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, making his second-straight start since returning from injury, to knot the game up 3-3 heading into the final period.

"Offensively we played well enough to win the game," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "Defensively, we have better in us. Let's be honest, they're a good team out there too. They're trying to score as well. It was just a couple of mistakes."

Tampa Bay is a team that manages the puck well, particularly of late as it reeled off eight wins in a row.

But turnovers were a constant issue for the Lightning in Winnipeg. They finished the night with 18 giveaways and had a couple key errors that led to goals for the Jets.
On the third period tying goal, Ryan McDonagh tried to make a move at the blue line and ended up losing the puck, the Lightning getting caught in a line change as a result. Later on in the play, Schefiele fired a shot from the slot that was wide of the target but caromed back out in front off the back wall to Ehlers for his second goal of the game.
"I think it was kind of a sloppier game for two teams that are pretty high in the standings obviously as far as puck management," McDonagh said. "We had a lot of turnovers and we created some of our own against them. I think we want to control a little bit better when we have the puck on our stick and certainly no bigger one than when I turned it over at the blue line."

In overtime, Brayden Point tried to bank a pass off the wall up ahead into the offensive zone, but Dustin Byfuglien was waiting to make the easy steal and start the puck back up the other way, hitting Bryan Little at the blue line, Little driving to goal and having the puck knocked off his stick by Vasilevskiy but right to the waiting Schefiele to bury the rebound opportunity.

"You turn the puck over, you fuel the rush, you do that a couple times and it ended up hurting us," Cooper said. "We played well enough to win that hockey game. Probably deserved to go to overtime and they just made the final play."

Video: TBL@WPG: Killorn capitalizes on Jets' line change

Despite the loss, Tampa Bay's power play continues to produce in a big way. On Sunday, the Lightning got two power-play opportunities and scored on both, Killorn's goal with eight seconds remaining on the man-advantage providing the opening goal and Nikita Kucherov's right circle power-play one-timer that snuck through Hellebuyck at the near post lifting the Lightning to a 4-3 lead in the third period.

That's four games in a row now the Lightning have netted at least one power-play goal.

The Bolts have scored multiple power-play goals in three of those four games.

Tampa Bay has scored more power-play goals (36) than any other team in the NHL. The Lightning's power-play unit now ranks second in the NHL for power-play success rate, converting at a 30.5 percent clip this season.

Which team ranks higher?

That would be Winnipeg, which went 1-for-1 on the power play Sunday night and is scoring at a 30.8 percent rate on the power play this season.

Combined with a penalty kill that has killed off 83.2 percent of opponent power-play opportunities, ranking fourth in the league, the Lightning are the only team in the NHL in the top four for both power play and penalty kill.

The Bolts have been winning the special teams battle most nights they take the ice.

Unfortunately in Winnipeg, they could only manage a draw as both teams converted each of their power-play opportunities.

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