The Lightning lost to the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 4-3. This is their second loss to the Blues in just over a week. Last time, St. Louis was clearly the better team but the Bolts were much more in the game tonight and if not for two poorly timed penalties in the third period, would have had a chance to win the game.
Nikita Kucherov opened the scoring in the second period firing one of his patented shots from the high slot past Jordan Binnington after a clean faceoff win by Brayden Point. Oskar Sundqvist scored the next two goals consecutively for the Blues to give them the lead. Anthony Cirelli tied the game continuing to showcase his newfound goal scoring ability gathering a rebound and stuffing it in the net as he fell to the ice.
The Blues took the lead 3-2 on a bit of a soft goal from Zach Sanford. And then nail in the coffin came when Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde took back to back penalties giving the Blues nearly two full minutes of 5 on 3 time. The penalty kill did well to survive for over ninety seconds but Brayden Schenn eventually found the back of the net.
The Lightning got one back on a power play of their own when Kucherov hit Brayden Point streaking through the center of the ice. The Bolts didn’t give in putting on intense pressure in the final minutes after pulling Vasilevskiy but couldn’t beat Binnington despite multiple chances in the crease.
This was a close game all night as evidenced by the nearly identical 5v5 expected goals. Allowing the 5 on 3 was the difference in the game. If not, the Lightning likely get at least a point out of this game. But that’s not how it went down.
The Kucherov line was the star for the Lightning, which is nice to see. On defense, Kevin Shattenkirk and Mikhail Sergachev led the way.
Man, I really wanted them to find a way to win this one. They played plenty well enough to win and getting two points against a good team like the Blues would’ve been a nice way to go into the Thanksgiving holiday.
We’ve talked a lot lately about the Lightning either playing not so great against bad teams or relying on playing a few good minutes or a dominant power play to win games. This was a much better all around game. They played one of the better teams in the league to a standstill.
But the penalties, which were a problem at the beginning of the year, reared their ugly head at the worst time. Giving an NHL team that much 5 on 3 time is far too risky and it cost them the game.
Tomorrow is a holiday so we won’t have much coverage on the site. We will have one holiday themed article but that’s it. So share your thoughts on tonight’s game in the comments here and then enjoy tomorrow if you celebrate. We’ll be back to normal on Friday. The game against the Caps starts at 5 PM. Sounds like a perfect time for a turkey sandwich.
Binnington shutting it down at the end of the game