Caleb Jones scored the lone goal and Mike Smith made 34 saves as the Oilers open their three-game road swing with a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay
TAMPA, FL - Yanni Gourde scored the game-winning goal at 13:01 of the second period on a shorthanded breakaway as the Oilers were defeated 3-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the first of a three-game road trip.
Caleb Jones notched his third goal of the campaign and Mike Smith made 34 saves on 36 shots, ending the night with a .944 save percentage.
The Oilers three-game road trip continues against the Florida Panthers on Saturday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 2:08 p.m. MT.
The Oilers and Lightning each entered the match burdened by injuries, with notable offensive pieces from both sides absent, including Oilers Captain Connor McDavid as well as Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
"They were missing two of their best players and us missing Connor, we knew we had to buckle down and grind away," Riley Sheahan said post-game. "For the most part, other than maybe a bit at the start of the game, we did a good job of that.
"It was unfortunate we couldn't come out on top."
Tampa Bay extended their winning streak to nine games while the Oilers dropped their eighth consecutive road outing against the Bolts, going 0-7-1 since Dec. 9, 2009.
"We had lots of compete in our game and Smitty was really strong," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "But mistakes ended up being the dictator in the game and we came out on the short end."
The Orange & Blue ended the evening 0-for-2 on the man advantage and allowed their 10th shorthanded goal against this year.
"In the third period we pushed and had a few chances but couldn't capitalize on the ones we needed," Tippett added.
A scoreless opening 20 minutes of play, which saw Smith make 14 saves, was followed by a three-goal middle frame as Jones' third of the year was sandwiched between Patrick Maroon's opening tally and Gourde's shorthanded go-ahead goal.
Former Oiler Maroon took advantage of an out-of-position and stick-less Smith at 4:39 of the 2nd by banking a puck in off the keeper from behind the goal-line.
The Oilers, looking for offence by committee with the loss of their 81-point captain McDavid, got it from defenceman Jones at 9:39. Jones' first shot was blocked but the defender got his second wrister through to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy glove side.
Leon Draisaitl collected his 58th assist and 90th point of the season on the play, leading the National Hockey League in both categories.
Edmonton received a power-play attempt shortly after but it was the Lightning who would strike at special teams. Gourde negated an Oilers zone entry then was off to the races all alone, lifting the puck high on Smith for his eighth of the season.
"Usually our power play, in the past month or two, seems like it's been able to get us a goal at a big time in the game," Alex Chiasson said post-game.
"It probably wasn't as sharp as what we're used to."
Edmonton's record drops to 30-21-6 as the club sets their sights on the Florida Panthers for a matinee match on Saturday.
"We got to reset in a hurry and get ready for Saturday afternoon," said Tippett.