Here are two long-standing hockey adages. First, the shift after a goal (for or against) is one of the most important in a game. Second, teams never want to allow a goal in the final minute of a period.
Tonight, the Lightning struggled mightily in both of those areas. The Wild scored their first three goals within a 1:41 span. After netting the first goal, they scored again two shifts later. Then, they added a third goal on the following shift, 28 seconds after the second tally. Minnesota's fourth and fifth goals came on the shift after a Lightning goal had tied the game. The fourth goal was scored in the final minute of the second period. The fifth - and eventual game-winner - came just eight seconds after Alex Killorn had knotted the score at four.
So even though the Lightning outshot the Wild, 34-21, owned a shot attempt advantage of 71-40, netted four goals of their own, and generated enough other scoring chances to earn at least a point, they made too many costly mistakes at key times to get rewarded. The Lightning were coming off Tuesday's game at Nashville in which they defended very well. That didn't happen tonight. Instead, coverage problems - both in the d-zone and off the rush - were their undoing.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Carson Soucy - Wild. Goal and assist.
- Mats Zuccarello - Wild. GWG and two assists.
- Mikhail Sergachev - Lightning. Goal.