Unfocused Lightning embarrass themselves to start ECF.
New York Leads the Series 1-0
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed six goals on 34 shots for the loss. He wasn’t sharp tonight, but only one of the six goals was really one he should’ve gotten.
1:11 NYR Kreider (9), (Zibanejad, Vatrano)
7:18 TB Stamkos (5), (Rutta, Cirelli)
7:50 NYR Vatrano (4), (Fox)
8:32 TB Palat (5), (Stamkos, Sergachev)
10:09 NYR Chytil (6), (Kakko, Lafreniere)
15:43 NYR Chytil (7), (Miller, Lafreniere)
0:30 NYR Panarin (5), (Copp, Trouba)
6:06 NYR Zibanejad (8), (Panarin, Fox)(PP)
Really a predictable outcome after a nine day layoff, but still something you hoped wouldn’t happen. And, to be honest, it’s not like the Lightning played poorly the first 30 minutes of this game. They did give up the opening goal early on a horrible coverage mistake by Bogosian, but beyond that they doubled up the Rangers on expected goals in the first 20 minutes and should’ve had a 1-2 goal lead going into intermission but for some misses you don’t usually see from a dialed in Kucherov or Stamkos. The chances kept flowing in the first half of the Second Period and the team could’ve potted another goal or two before Vatrano’s goal, the lone Vasilevskiy semi-soft goal, against the run of play. And then the wheels just came off after the fourth goal when the Lightning just failed to make simple clears of their zone and got caught on an extra long shift. Compound that with a neutral zone turnover that quickly gave the Rangers the three goal cushion to start the final frame and what, in an alternate universe, could’ve easily been a big Lightning win turned into an embarrassing laugher going the other way.
Moneypuck had the Lightning winning xG and handily at 5’s and a Deserve to Win meter tilted 75.4% in the Lightning’s favor. As bad as they played, they were still arguably the better team and just didn’t have game sharpness. That is why, gun to my head, I’d expect a very focused, fire-breathing effort from the team in Game Two where they can still achieve what they came to New York to do by stealing home ice. It’s just a shame they didn’t do better with their chance in Game One, because they had a way better opportunity of winning this game than the final score indicates.