TAMPA—For the second time in three games, the Lightning needed more than 65 minutes. Tampa Bay and Vegas went into shootout on Tuesday night, as the Lightning and Islanders did on Friday.
On Tuesday, however, the Lightning couldn’t pull out another win. Tampa Bay survived a too-many-men penalty with 2:22 left in overtime. But not the shootout. Alex Tuch got one past Andrei Vasilevskiy to give Vegas a 3-2 win.
Coach Jon Cooper summed it up as not the best game the Lightning has played, but not the worst either.
Vasilevskiy did some very Vasilevskiy things to get the Lighting the one loser’s point.
In the third period, he made back-to-back saves on Cody Eakin and Tomas Nosek, then another on Max Pacioretty without a stick. Each of the three was impressive, the combination was pure Vasilevskiy. He had 35 saves on 37 shots, including six in overtime.
The goaltender showed some frustration after the game, as he slammed his pads down while undressing in the dressing room.
Steven Stamkos credited Vasilevskiy with getting the one point, but said the Lightning needed better situational play as a team.
“We obviously shoot ourselves in the foot with an offensive zone penalty with under two minutes left,” Stamkos said referring to Alex Killorn’s trip with 1:42 to play. “So we have to kill that and then kill some in overtime and then another with the too many men.”
Tampa Bay had built a 2-0 lead with less than five minutes left in the second period, but then let Vegas get on the board a couple of minutes later.
Brayden Point put the Lightning on the board 6:36 into the game. He pounced on Nikita Kucherov’s rebound and sent it past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Mathieu Joseph added another in the second, though he needed an assist from the situation room in Toronto. Colin Miller ran into Joseph, sending him into Fleury. Joseph still managed to get his stick on the puck, which had deflected off Miller’s skate on a shot by Stamkos.
The referee originally waved the goal off, but the Lightning challenged the call. The officials back in Toronto ruled “the actions of Vegas’ Colin Miller caused Mathieu Joseph to contact Marc-Andre Fleury before the puck crossed the goal line.”
The Golden Knights responded quickly, scoring 2:09 later. Jon Merrill sent a long outlet pass from behind the net to Cody Eakin at the far blue line. Eakin beat Andrei Vasilevskiy on the breakaway.
“We got a 2-0 lead at home with (5:41) left in the period and we give up a breakaway behind their net,” Stamkos said. “We have to be more aware of that.”
Early in the third period, Vegas tied it up. Valentin Zykov battled off Braydon Coburn and sent the puck over to William Karlsson, who backhanded it back to Zykov. The winger finished for his first goal of the season.
The penalty kill came up big with the two late penalties, two of only three in the game. The power play, however, came up empty late. The Lightning was 1-for-5 on the night, and did not score on either of its two in the third period.