This game had two distinct parts to it. For much of the first 40 minutes, the Lightning thoroughly dictated play. Exactly how they controlled large portions of the earlier games on the trip against San Jose and Los Angeles. Ducks goalie John Gibson was sensational in denying numerous Grade-A scoring chances, so despite their large advantage in flow of play, the Lightning only had a 1-0 lead after two periods. Then, in the third period, the Ducks made a strong push, particularly in the final 10 minutes. But Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 14 third period saves to help the Lightning emerge victorious.
In the first meeting between the clubs on October 28 at Amalie Arena, the Ducks did a masterful job of taking away the Lightning's time and space all over the ice. As a result, the Lightning had a difficult time getting into their speed game. They had no such problems in this contest. Their speed put the Ducks back on their heels and led to wave after wave of Lightning pressure. Their relentless attack not only generated chances off the rush, their forecheck also forced the Ducks into defensive zone turnovers.
The advantage was more pronounced in the first than in the second, but both periods were strong ones for the Lightning. They racked up 17 first period shots and had 29 after two. They accumulated 34 shot attempts in the first and added 27 more in the second. Gibson singlehandedly kept his team close. The only shot that got past him during that time was a Vladdy Namestnikov rebound tap-in power play goal that came moments after Gibson made a lunging initial save on Nikita Kucherov. Vasilevskiy was far less busy than Gibson in the middle frame, but he did make an important breakaway save on Derek Grant when the game was still scoreless.
The tone of the game changed in the third, however. The Ducks did a better job of getting pucks through the neutral zone and into the Lightning end. Once there, Anaheim utilized its size and strength to hold onto pucks. The Lightning also committed some d-zone turnovers - one of those ultimately led to Jakob Silfverberg's tying goal at 3:48. Despite not having as much puck possession in the third, the Lightning did string together some strong shifts shortly after the Anaheim goal. They regained the lead three and a half minutes later when Ryan Callahan's forechecking pressure in the Ducks end resulted in a Chris Kunitz steal. Kunitz set up J.T. Brown at the left circle and Brown roofed a shot over Gibson's glove.
The Ducks had several chances to tie the game in the final 10 minutes. Their lone power play opportunity came with nine and a half minutes left and it was a dangerous one. Vasilevskiy made three impressive saves during the kill, including an acrobatic left pad stop on Brandon Montour. The Ducks thought the puck got across the goal line under Vasilevskiy's pad, but replays confirmed that Vasilevskiy kept it out. The closing minutes were anxious ones as the Ducks applied more pressure, but Vasilevskiy shut the door and secured the victory.
It's the first time since 1993-94 that the Lightning won all three road games against the Sharks, Kings and Ducks. Not only did they win them, they were very impressive doing so. It's true that in each game, the opposition had some strong moments. But for the vast majority of all three contests, the Lightning decisively carried play.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Andrei Vasilevskiy - Lightning. 28 saves.
- John Gibson - Ducks. 35 saves.
- J.T. Brown - Lightning. GWG.