This was a disappointing result and performance for the Lightning. They were not able to maintain their level from the past several games. Instead, they struggled much of the night with coverage and puck management.
Despite some wobbly defensive moments in the first period, the Lightning came out of the frame leading 1-0. That's because the Blues were dealing with some coverage issues of their own. During a sequence in the St. Louis end, Vince Dunn lost track of Anthony Cirelli, who finished a centering pass from Alex Killorn.
During the first 12 minutes or so of the second period, the Lightning successfully cleaned up their game. They generated a few scoring chances and nearly extended the lead. But Jordan Binnington made an early stop on Killorn and later, during a St. Louis power play, denied back-to-back shorthanded looks for Cirelli and Killorn.
The period turned when the Lightning went on the power play at 11:27 of the second. First, they yielded a shorthanded chance to Oskar Sundqvist. Then the Blues almost connected on a two-on-zero shorthanded rush. The puck went down the ice and Andrei Vasilevskiy mishandled it, eventually touching it in the illegal area behind the net. That ended the Lightning power play. Beginning with the Sundqvist shorthanded shot, the Blues outshot the Lightning, 12-0, for the rest of the period. Many of those were scoring chances, including David Perron's tying goal with 2:36 left in the frame.
The Lightning's puck management problems continued into the start of the third. A failed d-zone clearing attempt led to Sundqvist's eventual game-winner at 6:16.
Down 2-1, the Lightning's play improved. They owned more possession time, produced a few scoring chances and had some near misses. But they couldn't find the tying goal.
The Bolts lost not only the game, but also Nikita Kucherov to injury. He didn't return after taking a big check from Brayden Schenn late in the second period. We'll see if he's able to play on Thursday in Chicago - but either way, the Lightning will need to get back to the standard they set in the games prior to this one.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1. Oskar Sundqvist - Blues. GWG.
2. Jordan Binnington - Blues. 17 saves.
3. Anthony Cirelli - Lightning. Goal.