Over the last several games - and, in particular, during their back-to-back shutout victories in the two contests prior to this one - the Lightning's execution and attention-to-detail had been virtually flawless. On this night, however, they dipped in those areas. It may not have been a significant dip. But a couple of defensive miscues, combined with some missed offensive chances, and a strong goaltending performance from Louis Domingue, ended their franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak.
Take away Miles Wood's empty-netter in the final second of the game and the Lightning limited the Devils to just nine even-strength shots for the entire game. So as a whole, they didn't give up much to the Devils. But after another strong defensive performance in the first period, a frame in which they owned most of the five-on-five possession time, the Lightning endured some struggles in the second. After Tyler Johnson opened the scoring in the first minute of the second, the Lightning allowed two goals before the halfway point of the period. Andy Greene scored off the rush, as the Lightning weren't able to contain the Devils through the neutral zone (something they did throughout the opening period). Then, following a d-zone turnover, the Lightning yielded the eventual winner off a Travis Zajac deflection.
During the final 30 minutes, the Devils defended well with the lead. And throughout the entire game, Domingue made key saves when the Devils had breakdowns. He recorded five stops on Nikita Kucherov, including on a breakaway chance in the first and on a point-blank look from the slot with only a few minutes left in the third. As good as Domingue was, the Lightning also helped their former goalie by missing the net with 20 shot attempts.
For the first time in several weeks, the Lightning will be looking to bounce back after a loss. There's still a lot of work to be done before their bye week. They host the LA Kings on Tuesday before embarking on another back-to-back road swing on Thursday and Friday in Minnesota and Winnipeg.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Louis Domingue - Devils. 26 saves.
- Travis Zajac - Devils. GWG.
- Nikita Kucherov - Lightning. Five SOG, 12 shot attempts.