There were a few factors that led to this Lightning loss. The Ducks were coming off an 8-3 blowout loss Thursday in Sunrise against the Panthers and, not surprisingly, responded with a terrific defensive performance in this game. Anaheim consistently limited time and space for Lightning players in all three zones and kept the Tampa Bay scoring chances to a minimum.
When the Lightning did create good scoring opportunities, Ducks goalie John Gibson came up with key saves. Gibson even produced a great save on the sequence that led to the Lightning's lone goal - he robbed J.T. Brown with a diving stick save moments before Chris Kunitz slammed in the rebound. But the Kunitz shot was the only one that best Gibson, who, like his team, rebounded from Thursday's tough night against the Panthers.
In addition, the Lightning were guilty of passing out of a couple of great scoring chances when the game was still scoreless. The Bolts also couldn't convert on any of their four power play opportunities - it was only the second time this season that the Lightning failed to score at least one power play goal in a game.
Of course, another storyline was that the Ducks scored four goals, including two on the power play (so they decisively won the special teams battle). As a whole, the Lightning actually didn't have a bad night defensively. Like the Ducks, they did a pretty good job of limiting Grade-A scoring chances. The difference was that the Ducks were able to convert on some of the isolated mistakes the Lightning did make. The two power play goals opened the scoring. Both were terrific shots, but each came moments after the Lightning squandered chances to clear pucks down the ice. Then there was the third Anaheim goal. Yes, the Ducks caught a break, as the goal was scored with one-tenth of a second left in the second period. But the Lightning had two key turnovers leading up to the tally. One was in the offensive zone with about 15 seconds left in the period and the other occurred behind their own net moments before the goal.
So it wasn't the Lightning's night. Their mistakes, though few in number, hurt them. The Ducks made some nice plays and produced laser shots to turn those mistakes into goals. And the Lightning's attack was thwarted by a strong defensive effort from Anaheim and an excellent goaltending performance.
The Lightning's four-game winning streak and six-game home win streak are over. Now the challenge is to ensure that they bounce back in their next game - Monday in Sunrise against the Panthers.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Hampus Lindholm's buzzer beater goal in the second.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Ryan Getzlaf - Ducks. Three assists.
2. Rickard Rakell - Ducks. Two goals.
3. John Gibson - Ducks. 31 saves.