TAMPA — The Lightning’s 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild Sunday at Amalie Arena wasn’t the same clunker they played a day earlier, but Tampa Bay found itself in a similar situation down the stretch.
The Lightning again squandered a two-goal, third-period lead, this time allowing a pair of 6-on-5 goals in the final three minutes of regulation.
But after surviving an overtime period that included a 4-on-3 penalty kill, the Lightning won in a shootout. Steven Stamkos scored the only goal in the shootout, and Lightning goaltender Brian Elliott stopped all three Wild chances.
The mood was markedly different from Saturday, when Lightning coach Jon Cooper said his team coasted through a 5-3 loss to the Devils with a “sense of arrogance” after it allowed four unanswered third-period goals.
“I wasn’t upset that way we played that 5-on-6 at all,” Cooper said Sunday. “It’s always good to get through these things with a win, because the meeting the next day isn’t as bad. But (Sunday), to be honest, the guys gamed it out, and I’m happy for them that they got two points.”
After Kevin Fiala’s shot from the right point deflected off Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s stick, changed trajectory and skipped past Elliott to cut the Lightning lead to 4-3 with 2:48 remaining, Ondrej Palat hit the post shooting on an empty net. Joel Eriksson Ek then scored the tying goal down low with 38.7 seconds left.
The Lightning (10-4-3) have points in 10 of their last 11 games but have blown third-period leads in five of their last eight.
“A little bit of concern,” Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. “But we still ended up winning the game, so I think there’s some things we could work on, but we’re pretty happy with a win against that team.”
With Brayden Point out indefinitely with an upper-body injury, Anthony Cirelli returned to his second-line center spot and scored two goals. He isn’t the dynamic scorer Point or Nikita Kucherov are, but he has a nose for the net and is dogged near it, as his go-ahead goal in the second period showed.
Killorn circled behind the net and passed from low in the right circle to defenseman Cal Foote in front. The puck found its way to Cirelli, who made a power move to the net. His first backhand attempt was blocked by Kaapo Kahkonen’s pad, but Cirelli pounced on the rebound and flicked the puck into the net to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead.
He did it wearing a full face shield for the second straight game to protect the broken nose he suffered from a puck to the face Monday against the Islanders.
“Just trying to get to the net,” Cirelli said. “I think just trying to stick to my game and try and be good on the D side.”
The Lightning took a quick 2-0 lead in the first 12 minutes. Cirell’s goal at 1:06 gave the Lightning five straight games with power-play goals. Cirelli, positioned in the bumper spot in front of the net sometimes occupied by Point, deflected Victor Hedman’s shot past Kahkonen.
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Eleven minutes later, Pat Maroon scored his third goal in five games on a backhand shot that beat Kahkonen high on the glove side. Officials first ruled no goal but changed the call after a video review.
Marcus Foligno’s power-play goal with 5:20 left in the period cut the Lightning lead to 2-1, and the Wild tied it on Brandon Duhaime’s score from the slot 3:56 into the second.
Elliott, making his third start of the season and first at home, stopped 28 of 32 shots during regulation and overtime.
Alex Barre-Boulet, who returned from AHL Syracuse and was inserted into the first line in Point’s absence, made a game-saving play in the third. Wild forward Jordan Greenway beat Elliott five hole, but Barre-Boulet swept the puck away before it trickled to the goal line.
Barre-Boulet gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead midway through the third, flicking Stamkos’ deflected shot from the point into the net with 10:41 left in regulation.
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