Tampa Bay Lightning Finish Road Trip With Shootout Loss To Edmonton Oilers

BY Fansided and Tasha St. Pierre/FanSided via Bolts by the Bay • December 18, 2016

The Tampa Bay Lightning played a good game, but ultimately fell to the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in the shootout to finish off their three-game road trip.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a taste of what it was like to be successful after they threw a bucket of ice cold water on the red-hot Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the very next game the Vancouver Canucks would put the brakes on the Bolts and deliver yet another loss to the Lightning.

Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning had an opportunity to once again find themselves in the win column if they are able to come up with a victory at Rogers Place where they will take on the Edmonton Oilers. The bad news is, the Oilers are just as hungry for a win and will more than likely stop at nothing to shut the Lightning down.

The simple fact of the matter is, if the Lightning had any hope of being successful tonight in Edmonton, the Lightning would have to be aggressive with the puck, stay strong defensively, and for the love of the hockey gods…stay out of the penalty box.

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Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t exactly get off to the start one would’ve hoped for. While the Lightning were able to keep the puck out of their own net over the course of the first 20 minutes of play, they did nothing to put the puck in the Oilers net either.

In fact, we’re pretty sure we caught Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot catching some Zzzs during the first period. Why wouldn’t he, though? He had plenty of time. Talbot only had to face a total of five shots from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period.

We here at Bolts By The Bay have always been a proponent of quality over quantity. Had the Lightning put the puck in the back of the net in the first period, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation. Alas, this did not come to pass, and the Lightning allowed the Oilers to control the pace for much of the first period.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the Lightning offered up two opportunities with the man advantage to the Oilers. This is where a number of the Oilers shots on goal came from in the first period. This forced Lightning netminder Ben Bishop to come up big more than once during the first. Fortunately, Bishop didn’t disappoint.

Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said about the second period. Just 1:30 into the second period, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl would find himself with a one-way ticket to the sin bin for High Sticking Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. This opened the door for the second Lightning Power Play opportunity of the night.

Regrettably, this wouldn’t last very long. With about 45 seconds left in the penalty to Draisaitl, Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov would find himself headed to the penalty box for Hooking against Oilers defenseman Matthew Benning. This would negate the remainder of the Draisaitl penalty and give the Oilers a Power Play of their own.

This opened the door for Oilers forward Milan Lucic to make his mark on the Power Play and open up the scoring for the Edmonton Oilers. Apparently, the words “Stay Out Of The Box” mean very little to the Tampa Bay Lightning at this point. Unfortunately, this is not the last time Lightning fans will find themselves screaming this mantra at the top of their lungs.

As time continued to tick off the clock, it seemed as if the Lightning would head into the second intermission down a goal. Thankfully, this was simply not meant to be. At 17:31 in the second period, Oilers forward Taylor Beck would find himself headed to the sin bin for Slashing Victor Hedman.

Victor Hedman would keep the puck alive in the Lightning’s offensive zone and ward off the Oilers as he searched for his shot. When he found none, he found an open Jonathan Drouin just waiting for the puck. Hedman passed the puck to Drouin who faked once before sinking the puck in the back of the net and tying things up for the Lightning as they headed into the second intermission.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made up some ground in the second period, tying the Oilers 13-13 in shots on goal in the second period for a two-period total of 24-17 in favor of the Oilers. On the bright side, the Lightning may have created the spark they needed to get back on track and come out strong in the third period.

At this point in the game, the Power Play has been the difference maker for both teams. If only the Lightning could manage to stay far away from the penalty box, the Lightning may just find themselves in a favorable position. At least one would hope.

The Lightning wasted no time in getting down to business in the third period. The Bolts hit the ice with glorious purpose in the third period and really fought to keep themselves in the game. It was this tenacity that opened the door for one of the most highlight-worthy moments of the game.

Lightning forward Tyler Johnson got ahold of the puck in the defensive zone. After playing the puck through the neutral zone, he handed the puck off to Cory Conacher. Conacher bided his time looking for his opening. As soon as Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera flinched, Conacher passed the puck back to Johnson.

In one fluid motion, Johnson shot the puck and watched as it sailed into the back of the net. This would give the Tampa Bay Lightning their first lead of the game. Unfortunately, the celebration wouldn’t last very long.

Just a matter of minutes later, Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek would head to the penalty box for Hooking Draisaitl. A mere seven seconds into the Power Play, Draisaitl would beat Bishop to tie things up for the Oilers. Needless to say, this took a lot of the wind out of the sails of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the Lightning got their legs moving once again and started to pick up the pace. The Lightning fought hard in the final moments of the third period, but they simply couldn’t find a way to get the puck into the back of the net. At the same time, the exact same thing can be said about the Oilers.

The Lightning made up a lot of ground in the third period, outshooting the Oilers 13-7 in the final 20 minutes of regulation for a three-period total of 31-31. The Bolts would need to channel some of the energy they built in the final minutes of the third and give it all they have in the overtime period if they want to come home with the two points.

The Bolts would create some amazing opportunities for themselves in the opening moments of the third period, but the blasted goal post had other ideas on where the puck should end up. Just about halfway through the period, Alex Killorn would make his best attempt to break through, but it would be deflected wide by Talbot.

The Lightning would take a penalty late in the overtime period as Brayden Point headed to the sin bin for Holding Oilers forward Jordan Eberle. Normally, we are not proponents of taking any sort of penalty, but in this case, Point taking one of the team may have actually saved the Lightning further stress.

When the buzzer would sound to end the overtime period, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Edmonton Oilers would remain tied at two. Now, these two teams would head to the shootout. Unfortunately, this is always a time when Lightning fans are on the edge of the seats, and not always for a good reason.

Oilers forward Mark Letestu would open things up for the Oilers and easily get the first point of the shootout. Brayden Point, who had yet to miss a shootout goal this season, was stopped short by Cam Talbot. Thankfully, Ben Bishop would make the save on Leon Draisaitl in the second round.

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Finally, it was Jonathan Drouin who would tie things up for the Bolts in the second round of the shootout with a goal on Cam Talbot. Unfortunately, it would be a goal from Oilers star forward Connor McDavid that would essentially put the nail in the coffin of the Lightning’s night.

Brian Boyle would finish things off for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his shot would fly over the net. The buzzer would sound and it would be the Edmonton Oilers who would be celebrating their victory.

There is no doubt this was a frustrating loss for the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans. At the same time, this could have been much worse for the Bolts. The Lightning have taken three out of the nine available points on this road trip. Now, they make their way back to the Amalie Arena to face their next challenge.

When you look at the big picture, the Tampa Bay Lightning have drastically improved their play. They are scoring goals and coming up strong defensively. Unfortunately, the one aspect of the game that continues to sink the ship for the Lightning is the Penalty Kill.

One of two things absolutely must happen. Either the Tampa Bay Lightning needs to get the penalty kill on the same page and start shutting down these marginal penalties or the Bolts are going to have to find a way to stay out of the penalty box.

Yes, we bolded this simply because we find ourselves screaming this at the top of our lungs almost every single game. If the Tampa Bay Lightning have any hopes of making their way to the postseason, even in a wild card scenario, they need to tighten those laces and get back to business almost immediately.

Next up, the Lightning have two days off as they head home to the Amalie Arena to take on a very familiar foe, the Detroit Red Wings. There is absolutely no love lost between these two teams, and there is no doubt this will be a physical game. An uphill battle, yes…an impossible obstacle…absolutely not.

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