Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov notch three points apiece and Andrei Vasilevskiy makes 33 saves as the Oilers lose 5-2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA, FL - Lightning struck on Tuesday.
Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov put up three points apiece, while netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning shocked the Oilers 5-2 at Amalie Arena.
Ryan Strome ended his pointless drought with a second-period goal and Leon Draisaitl notched his ninth of the campaign on a power play in the third. Mikko Koskinen made 30 saves in the loss and is now 3-1-0 on the year.
Connor McDavid's eight-game point streak was snapped, marking just the second time he's been held without a point in 2018-19.
The Oilers conclude their four-game road trip Thursday against the Florida Panthers. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 5:08 p.m. MST.
"It took a little while for us to find our legs," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "They're a really good team, they're really fast. They're in first place and they're a favourite right now for a reason."
The Oilers didn't get the start nor the finish they were looking for in the first period against the Lightning.
Koskinen, getting the nod on the heels of the Oilers back-to-back, did his best to keep the floodgates from opening early. Tampa opened the game with the first six shots on goal, with the Oilers keeper making notable stops on Adam Erne's slot one-timer then his ensuing 5-hole slip at the net.
The Bolt's were rewarded for their early efforts. Stamkos broke Koskinen at 4:40, wiring the puck top shelf on the Finn's glove hand side.
"I didn't think we played terrible or bad by any means," said Draisaitl. "The last two games, we didn't have a good start. Before that, we were really good."
Edmonton gained their legs as the period continued. Looking to extend his point streak to nine games, McDavid danced through Anton Stralman then placed a behind the back pass on Ty Rattie's blade but Vasilevskiy dove across the crease to get a piece of the puck.
The Bolt's goalie got some luck from the post on Darnell Nurse's slap shot from the point then kicked aside Draisaitl's wrister on a partial break.
With less than a minute remaining, Brayden Point made it 2-0 Lightning, cleaning up a loose puck that Koskinen could not cover.
At long last, Strome finally got the monkey off his back in the second period, cutting the lead to 2-1. The winger attacked the offensive zone while playing 4-on-4 hockey, wristing the puck blocker side to finally crack Vasilevskiy.
"Hopefully I can get on a roll now," said Strome. "Get that out of the way and play hockey."
Tampa's netminder did his best impression of a wall in the period, specifically on the penalty kill.
The Oilers maintained pressure for a full two minutes on the man-advantage but Vasilevskiy didn't let anything past him. Draisaitl's doorstep tip was kicked aside, McDavid's wrister was bumped away and Nugent-Hopkins dinged the iron. The Orange & Blue ended the night 1-for-4 on the man-advantage.
"That's as good as our power play has looked," said McLellan. "Sometimes you run into a hot goaltender. You have to tip your hat to some of the saves he made."
The Lightning added a pair before the conclusion of the frame.
Yannie Gourde notched his seventh of the season with a high tip to fool Koskinen then Kucherov bingoed, roofing one high blocker to give his Bolts a 4-1 lead to enter the third.
"The goal at the end of the second didn't help at all," said McLellan. "They did some damage against us going laterally a lot."
Draisaitl notched his ninth of the campaign just 40 seconds into the third, depositing Rattie's backhand feed across the crease but that was all the offence Edmonton would muster on the night.
The club's frustration reached a boiling point midway through the final period when Milan Lucic policed against Mathieu Joseph, who caught Kris Russell with a hit from behind. The Oilers winger was ejected from the game, receiving two minutes for interference, two for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.
"We thought he took a liberty of Kris Russell," said McLellan of Joseph. "Part of the reason why we have Looch here is to take care of teammates and he did that."
Strome chimed in on the rough stuff that occurred throughout the game and Lucic's defence of his teammates.
"I don't think he should have to do that," Strome said. "I think the referee should take a little more control but the game is high heated... Sometimes you have to protect a guy."
Edmonton will look to close their four-game road trip on a high note when they take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday.