Lightning falters again in Minnesota

by Gary Shelton on November 29, 2021

in general

Killorn scored his first goal in 11 games./JEFFREY S. KING

3 a.m.

In Miinnesota, is the Tampa Bay Lightning really a big deal?

Elsewhere, the Lighting are a dynasty, winners of two straight Stanley Cup champions. But in Minnesota, they are just another team to beat, as the Wild did again Sunday afternoon.

Minnesota beat the Bolts 4-2, a fairly familiar sight. The Wild has now won nine straight home games against Tampa Bay, which has only two wins in its 15 outings against Minnesota. The Lightning hasn't won in Minnesota since 2011.

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They didn't win this time, either, as Ryan Hartman's third period goal broke a 2-2 tie. An empty-netter by Marcus Foligno with 16.4. seconds to play padded the lead.

"We had an open net (in the final period)." said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. "It went over  Killer’s (Alex Killorn's) stick. I don’t know if he knew it was coming, I don’t know if he was surprised. He had a chance. Normally he puts that in. We got our look. We didn’t capitalize."

The Bolts' goals came from Joe Perry and Killorn.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had won back-to-back shutouts, but he gave up three goals on 25 shots. The Bolts had won three a row and six of seven.

“That third goal is on me,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said. “For some reason, I thought they had three guys in the corner and kind of left the guy alone in front. Small differences in the game that cost us at the end, but I think overall it was good.”

The Wild leads the NHL's Central Division.

"The hockey they play is probably some postseason hockey,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “I’ve seen it before with us, hence two good teams going at it. ... Two games that went down to the wire and probably fitting for two quality teams in each conference. It’s no more for them, we’re done playing them, so I guess if we play them again it’s probably a good year for both of us.”

The Bolts play in St. Louis against the Blues on Tuesday night. The puck is scheduled to be dropped at 7 p.m.

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