By Michael Wax
Lightning fall in first half of back-to-back, move to 3-4-0.
The Lightning had one lineup changes heading into the game, with defenseman Haydn Fleury replacing forward Cole Koepke in the lineup. The Lightning went 11/7 for the first time this season.
The Lightning were the better team from the jump, generating more chances than the Kings and spending more time in the offensive zone. Ultimately, the Kings were the ones that picked up the game's opening goal. After Mike Anderson sent a wrist shot on net, there was some chaos as no one could find the puck. In the end, Phillip Danault got it past Vasilevskiy for his fourth goal of the season. There were questions about whether the puck went into the net, as well as if Gabe Vilardi had interfered with Vasilevskiy, but the goal stood.
The Lightning continued to push for the tying goal, and were rewarded with just under five minutes left to play in the opening period. During a breakout, Mikhail Sergachev took the puck from Nikita Kucherov and crossed the blue line. Brandon Hagel quickly trailed him, and continued towards the net. Sergachev's initial shot was deflected away by Quick, but Hagel was right there to backhand home the rebound and tie the game.
For Hagel, it was his second goal in as many games, and came unassisted.
Once again, the Lightning looked like the better team in the middle frame, but costly mistakes cost them dearly. Ian Cole took a penalty a little less than five minutes in, and the Kings capitalized with a power play goal. Gabe Vilardi got his fifth of the year after deflecting a shot from Drew Doughty.
LA made it 3-1 about eight minutes later. After a one-timer from Ross Colton was blocked, LA started a 2-on-2 the other way. Nick Perbix pushed Arthur Kaliyev to the boards, but not before he found a wide-open Brandt Clarke. Clarke was wide open because none of the forwards back checked, leading to a 2-on-1, in which Blake Lizotte tapped in the pass across for his first of the year.
By far the worst period for the Lightning, the Kings were able to expand the lead again as Adrian Kempe picked up his fifth of the year on the third odd-man rush chance of the period.
Nikita Kucherov scored his first of the year off the faceoff to make it 4-2 with over two minutes to go, but it just wasn't enough.
1. Vilardi (LA): 1 Goal, 1 Assist
2. Quick (LA): 23 Saves
3. Danault (LA): 1 Goal
The Lightning's next game will be against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday October 26, at 10 PM ET.
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