ANAHEIM, Calif — The Lightning feels good after taking three of four possible points in the first two games of this make-or-break road trip.
But after falling 2-1 in overtime to the Ducks Tuesday night, Tampa Bay left the Honda Center feeling like it should have got more. Rickard Rakell's power play goal 54 seconds into overtime was the difference.
"We deserved two points," goalie Ben Bishop said. "We did a lot of good things. I don't think anybody should be upset right now. We've got to keep rolling."
Considering Tampa Bay (21-20-5) has lost all margin for error as it fights for its playoff life, it can't afford to let points slip through its fingers. The Lightning, playing its second straight game without top defenseman Victor Hedman (illness), outshot Anaheim 28-21, holding the Ducks to just nine shots through two periods. But Tampa Bay couldn't pull away.
"We had our chances," coach Jon Cooper said. "We missed open nets."
Said Bishop: "We were just missing,"
Just ask Valtteri Filppula. Filppula had a wide-open net in the first period after a great cross-zone feed by Jonathan Drouin, but he soared the shot over the net. Filppula made sure not to miss in the second period, pouncing on a loose puck in the slot five minutes in to make it 1-0.
"Definitely should have scored on the first one," Filppula said. "I guess I got a little closer in the second so I couldn't shoot it over."
But the Ducks answered with a weird goal on the next shift. After a scramble behind the Lightning net, Cedric Paquette failed on a clearing attempt, which was picked off by Ryan Getzlaf above the right circle. Bishop appeared to lose track of the puck, and was surprised when Getzlaf slid a wrist shot past him to make it 1-1.
"I got hit in the face a second before," Bishop said. "I looked up and we had three guys on the puck skating it out. I looked up to fix my helmet and when I looked back it was in the net."
The Lightning continued its strong stretch of defensive play, allowing just six regulation goals in the past four games. Jonathan Drouin was again dazzling, with nine shot attempts. The fourth line of Cedric Paquette, Michael Bournival and Gabriel Dumont provided a spark. And Bishop came up big early in the third period. The Ducks made a push, partly thanks to a couple "questionable" penalties on Tampa Bay, Cooper said. Bishop helped the Lightning penalty kill go 4-for-4 in regulation. "They were a reason we got a point," Cooper said.
The Lightning just felt it should have had two.