Thanks to Curtis McIlhinney, the Lightning got a point of this game. He made 40 saves, including a multitude of stops on Grade-A scoring chances. Here are some of the other takeaways from Sunday's contest.
- The Lightning struggled with defensive zone puck management in the first period. Throughout the frame, the Lightning endured miscues on clearing attempts and Carolina held pucks in the offensive zone. The Hurricanes then quickly translated those into scoring chances. Their first goal of the game, scored at 1:14 of the first came immediately after a Lightning d-zone turnover. Brock McGinn hit the post before Brett Pesce's point shot deflected off Luke Witkowski's skate into the net. While the Hurricanes didn't score another goal in the period, they repeatedly created dangerous looks off those intercepted clearing attempts. McIlhinney made 16 first period saves and probably half of those were legitimate scoring chances.
- At the same time, the first period was the Lightning's strongest. When they weren't stuck in the their own end, they were able to apply pressure on Carolina. They created looks off the rush and, as Carolina did to them in the period, also forced the Hurricanes into d-zone turnovers. Two of those led directly to goals - Tyler Johnson's tying tally and Steven Stamkos' goal late in the frame. Kevin Shattenkirk scored the other one, a power play marker just four seconds into the man advantage. On all three goals, the Lightning had traffic in front of Petr Mrazek.
- After the first period, the Hurricanes outshot the Lightning, 27-2, for the rest of the game. There were a couple of key points during the final two periods and overtime, though, that especially tilted the ice for Carolina. In the second period, up until Victor Hedman's penalty with 7:29 remaining, the Hurricanes had only five shots in the frame. The Lightning were clearing pucks more effectively and, for the most part, limiting Carolina's possession in the Tampa Bay end. But on that power play, the 'Canes won the draw and held the puck in the offensive zone for over a minute before Erik Haula scored on a rebound. That goal fueled Carolina's attack and the Hurricanes applied heavy pressure for the rest of the period. Somewhat similarly, in the third period, Carolina didn't get rolling until just before the penalty on Braydon Coburn with 7:34 left. Dougie Hamilton scored on that power play and the Hurricanes spent most of the final minutes of regulation in possession of the puck. So for the second game in a row, the Lightning took costly penalties leading to opposition power play goals that not only affected the result, but also fueled the opposition attack.
- Those Carolina momentum surges don't entirely account for the Lightning's lack of shot production during the last two periods, though. The Lightning simply didn't generate any sustained activity in the offensive zone. That includes a couple of power play chances that could have changed the outcome of the game. A goal on their early second period power play would have made it 4-1. A tally on their PP chance in the third would have given them a 4-2 lead. But they didn't do anything with either of those opportunities.
The Lightning will take their road point and put it in the bank. But they'll need to play much better when the trip resumes Thursday in Toronto.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Curtis McIlhinney - Lightning. 40 saves.
- Erik Haula - Hurricanes. PPG. Won 15 of 19 faceoffs.
- Dougie Hamilton - Hurricanes. PPG and assist.