For the most part, the Lightning played well in this game. However, they also committed several mistakes that led directly to goals for the Edmonton Oilers. So, as a whole, the game was a bit of a mixed bag. But ultimately, the Lightning made enough plays in the offensive zone to give them their sixth consecutive victory.
The Lightning were the fresher team, since the Oilers played Monday night against the Florida Panthers. And for a good portion of this game, the Lightning looked like the fresher team. They dictated play by possessing the puck for long stretches of time. When the Oilers had the puck in the defensive zone, the Lightning forechecked effectively and forced Edmonton into turnovers. But in the first period, the Lightning, after taking two separate one-goal leads, made two crucial mistakes that helped the Oilers tie the score. After Nikita Nesterov finished a terrific cross-ice pass from Alex Killorn, the Lightning had a 1-0 lead. But a few shifts later, a d-zone turnover resulted in a wide open shot for Eero Pakarinen and a rebound goal for Zack Kassian. Then, after Nikita Kucherov scored on a backhand shot from the slot, the Lightning turned the puck over during a late first period power play and Mark Lestestu netted a shorthanded goal on a breakaway.
The Lightning’s best overall period was the second. They killed off two Edmonton power plays, outshot the Oilers 11-5, and netted two goals. They could have had more, but Oilers goalie Anders Nilsson made several key saves on point-blank Lightning shots. However, Ondrej Palat and Vladdy Namestnikov both scored to give the Lightning a 4-2 lead after two periods.
The Bolts had a chance with an early third period power play to build a three-goal lead. But instead, they didn’t score on the man advantage and shortly after the penalty ended, surrendered a two-on-one rush to Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl finished the shot at 2:10, cutting the Lightning lead to 4-3. Just over two minutes later, the Lightning yielded another two-on-one. That rush was disrupted, but Pakarinen chased the puck to the side boards and roofed a shot into the top corner of the net.
Soon after, the Oilers went on their fourth power play of the night, looking for their first lead. But instead, the Lightning scored shorthanded. After J.T. Brown blocked a shot in the defensive zone, Braydon Coburn backhanded the puck high in the air down the ice. It dropped down in the Edmonton end and Brian Boyle was the closest player to it. Nilsson came out to swat the puck away from Boyle, but he couldn’t knock it out of Boyle’s reach. Boyle took the puck to the left circle and wristed it into the vacated net.
After Boyle’s goal at 7:42, the Oilers played their best hockey of the night. They repeatedly attacked the Lightning end with speed and generated numerous Grade-A scoring chances. But Andrei Vasilevskiy turned them all aside, including key saves on Draisaitl and Hall in the closing minutes. Similar to his last start against Pittsburgh on Friday, it was a game in which he allowed four goals, but also made some crucial saves to help his team win. Killorn iced the victory with an empty-netter.
The Lightning, who have now won six straight, will host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. The ‘Hawks have won 12 in a row, matching a franchise record. It figures to be a terrific matchup between two hot teams. The Lightning are rolling offensively, having scored at least three goals in every game during their streak. Their top two lines are creating matchup problems for the opposition – on a nightly basis, one, if not both, of those lines are doing damage offensively. They will try to create those same matchup problems for Chicago. But the Lightning also know they’ll need to cut down on the errors that hurt them against Edmonton.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Boyle’s SHG, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1.Alex Killorn – Lightning. Goal and two assists.
2.Eero Pakarinen – Oilers. Goal and assist.
3.Ryan Callahan – Lightning. Played a strong, physical game.