The Lightning got on the board first just after the six-minute mark of the opening period when Vladislav Namestnikov redirected a Braydon Coburn wrist shot past Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott. The Flames would pick up momentum toward the middle of the frame in drawing a pair of power-play opportunities, but the Lightning penalty-kill units proved equal to the task.
“I just thought they’re a good defensive team,” Namestnikov said. “We had trouble getting through the neutral zone with too many turnovers. At the end of the day, they scored one more goal than us.”
It wasn’t until the 5:04 mark of the second period that Calgary would finally cash in for their first goal of the night. Swedish centerman Michael Backlund did the honors, adding to his breakout campaign with tally number 18 of the season. A mere 71 seconds later, the Flames were on the board again after yet another excellently-timed deflection goal managed to get through Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. The goal was a historic one for Calgary, marking the 100th career score for 22-year-old superstar center Sean Monahan.
Calgary would add to their lead late in the third when defenseman Dougie Hamilton connected on his tenth goal of the season. The Lightning would then answer back with a late goal of their own courtesy of Nikita Kucherov. The tally was his 23rd of the campaign, tops among all Tampa Bay players.
Despite a late flurry, the Lightning were unable to get a third puck past Elliott in the final minute and the Flames held on to secure the 3-2 victory.
“We just didn’t shoot pucks. That was it. We had 22 shot attempts after two periods. You should have that after 10 minutes, 15 minutes in a game. There wasn’t that urgency to score. It was an easy night for their goaltender tonight.” — Lightning coach Jon Cooper
Tampa Bay will host Ottawa on Monday at 7:30 PM.