There are a number of things I could reference in this game. I could write about how the Lightning had 65 shot attempts and allowed only 34 Vancouver attempts. I could mention that the Lightning, after a sluggish first period, controlled most of the play in the final 40 minutes. I could describe how the Lightning’s strong five-on-five play led to numerous penalty calls on the Canucks.
But while all of those items are true, they don’t tell the story of this game. There’s really only one significant storyline from this contest – the Lightning lost in regulation because they squandered nine of their 10 power play chances.
The Lightning did score their lone goal on the power play – it was on their sixth opportunity and it came with only 22 seconds left in the second period. That goal from Jonathan Marchessault tied the score at one and seemed to give the Bolts some momentum on the next three power play chances, all of which occurred in the third period. On those three opportunities, the Lightning did generate some dangerous looks, but they couldn’t break the tie.
What especially hurt the Lightning wasn’t necessarily those third period chances when the game was tied at one. Instead, it was the early opportunities when the game was scoreless and then after they fell behind by a 1-0 score. The Bolts didn’t even post a shot on their first four power play opportunities. After five power play chances, the Lightning had one shot while the Canucks had recorded four shorthanded attempts.
The Canucks were at the end of a long road trip. The Lightning, with those early power play chances, could have put them in a deep hole. Instead, those first five power play opportunities actually gave momentum to the visitors. And road-weary Vancouver never had to play from behind in this game.
After the three unsuccessful chances in the first half of the third, the Lightning got one last power play chance in the final 1:42. They pulled Ben Bishop for a six-on-four advantage, but couldn’t tie the game.
The Lightning have had games this year in which the power play helped them win. Sunday’s 5-2 triumph over Ottawa, which featured two early Lightning power play goals, is an example. But the Bolts have also had many games in which the power play let them down. Tonight was another one of those games.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Jacob Markstrom’s two key saves on Jonathan Marchessault in the third period, keeping the game tied at one.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1.Jacob Markstrom – Canucks. 26 saves.
2.Chris Tanev – Canucks. 25:50 TOI, including 11:17 TOI while shorthanded.
3.Jonathan Marchessault – Lightning. PPG.