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Tampa Bay Lightning end road trip with 6-3 loss to Calgary Flames

Early penalties and an ineffective power play bring the road trip to an end with a thud.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Calgary Flames Photo by Leah Hennel/Getty Images

Coach Jon Cooper wanted the Tampa Bay Lightning to return from their five-game road trip with more points than games played. Thanks to wins in the first three games that will happen. However, the execution of their game plan over the last two left him a little “frustrated”. The Bolts ended their road trip with a dispiriting 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday afternoon. They had closed the gap to 4-3 on a late third period goal by Anthony Cirelli before two empty-net goals sealed the win for the Flames.

For much of the game the Lightning struggled to put forth quality zone time offensively and spent much of the day on their heels as Calgary controlled the neutral zone and launched shot after shot at Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was denied his 250th career win for the second night. The Flames ended up with 72 shot attempts on the night with 41 making their way on goal. Vasilevskiy kept the Bolts in the game with 35 saves, including 14 on 15 in the first period.

Unfortunately he received little help from his teammates in front of the net and a slew of penalties at the end of the first period led to Nazem Kadri redirecting a Tyler Toffoli shot on the power play for the early Calgary lead. Tampa Bay made their comeback more difficult as Nikita Kucherov and Zach Bogosian took penalties on the same play which resulted in a two-minute, 5-on-3 power play for the home squad that carried into the second period.

The Lightning were able to kill it off without any further damage to the scoreboard and ended up with the next two power plays. Unfortunately, and this would be a theme for the night, they weren’t able to create any solid chances with the extra skater as Calgary forced them to the perimeter and Dan Vladar made the saves he had to.

Despite the sluggish play, the Lightning briefly took the lead midway through the game. Steven Stamkos continued his torrid scoring pace since picking up his 500th goal as he pounced on a loose puck in the right circle and blasted a shot past Vladar. Forty-eight seconds later Vladislav Namestnikov had the puck poked off his stick by Vladar, but the puck rebounded off Vladdy’s skates and back into the net. The next few bounces would go the way of the Flames, though.

Just a minute after Namestnikov’s goal, Calgary tied it back up when Tyler Toffoli banked a wraparound attempt off of Victor Hedman and into the net. Vasilevskiy, who had sprung to the near post on a shot that went wide, wasn’t able to recover in time to prevent the puck from going into the open net.

Hedman then had the puck hit off of his hip and deflect past his goaltender a few minutes later. Rasmus Andersson would get credit for the goal. Dillon Dube scored the eventual game-winner on a nice rush (and the only shot that beat Vasilevskiy cleanly) almost eight-minutes into the third period.

Much like the Edmonton game, there was a little bit of truculence in the game. MacKenzie Weegar had an elbow to Nikita Kucherov early in the game. Corey Perry took a crosscheck into the boards that touched off a scrum that ended in penalties and a 10-minute misconduct for The Worm. Ian Cole and Milan Lucic squared off for a fight. So, basically a tough, Western Conference game.

Tampa Bay had two more chances on the power play in the third period, including a four-minute advantage when old friend Blake Coleman crosschecked Ian Cole in the chin. Corey Perry had a golden chance as he split through the defense, but Vladar made the save. Despite the lethargic play, the Lightning still had a chance at the end of the game when they won a face-off in the Calgary zone with just over four minutes to play. Vasilevskiy was on the bench for the 6-on-5 advantage and Anthony Cirelli found himself alone at the side of the Calgary net. Victor Hedman’s shot hit him, the puck dropped to his feet and Cirelli was able to punch it home for his third goal of the season.

That was as close as they would get as Johnathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman added empty net goals at the end. After a couple of nights off they take on the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday to start a three-game homestand.

Highlights:

Nazem Kadri (Tyler Toffoli, Rasmus Andersson) Power Play, 1-0 Flames

Steven Stamkos (unassisted) 1-1

Vladislav Namestnikov (Nick Paul, Pat Maroon) 2-1 Lightning

Tyler Toffoli (Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube) 2-2

Rasmus Andersson (Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund) 3-2 Flames

Dillon Dube (Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin) 4-2 Flames

Anthony Cirelli (Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov) 4-3 Flames

Jonathan Huberdeau (Milan Lucic, Noah Hanifin) Empty Net, 5-3 Flames

Blake Coleman (Noah Hanifin) Empty Net, 6-3 Flames