Clearly, this was not the Lightning’s night. The circumstances entering the game weren’t favorable – the team was wrapping up a long 10-day, five-game road trip. It was playing the second half of a back-to-back against a team that hadn’t played – or traveled – the night before. It was Tampa Bay’s fourth game in six nights. They had lost five of their regulars to injury already on the trip.
Even beyond those circumstances, it wasn’t the Lightning’s night. For the first time this season, the Bolts did not receive the saves they’ve gotten regularly from their goaltender. Simply put, Evgeni Nabokov did not have a good game. He allowed four first period goals – and he’d probably like to have three of those back. Some costly defensive zone turnovers also hurt the Bolts in the first.
What’s interesting about the opening period, though, was that the Lightning actually started well. For the first five minutes or so, the Lightning had the majority of the puck possession and looked crisper than the Wild. The Bolts had a shooter’s mentality in the opening minutes, but none of their attempts were on net.
That early dynamic changed, though, when Minnesota’s Jason Pominville fired a shot off the post. That close call seemed to spark the home side – and the Wild scored their first goal later on the same shift. One other key moment happened after Anton Stralman tallied the Lightning’s first goal, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Over a minute later, Erik Haula re-established a two-goal lead for Minnesota.
The Lightning never got any closer, as the Wild eventually extended the lead to7-2. These games can happen over the course of a long season, so chalk this one up as a clunker. The Bolts will look to regroup – and hopefully get a little healthier – when they begin a four-game homestand Tuesday against Arizona.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Minnesota’s first goal, scored by Marco Scandella.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1.Erik Haula – Wild. Goal.
2.Mikko Koivu – Wild. Goal.
3.Marco Scandella – Wild. Goal and assist.