For the second game in a row, the Hurricanes failed to play a full 60 minutes against the Tampa Bay Lightning, this time falling 3-0 at Amalie Arena as they dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside all 25 shots the Canes threw at him. Alex Nedeljkovic played a very good game in net for Carolina, stopping 26 of 28 Lightning shots and making numerous sharp saves, particularly as the Canes were outplayed for vast stretches of the first two periods.
Similar to Monday’s game, the Canes were sluggish out of the gate, but this time Tampa made them pay on the scoreboard with two first-period goals.
About seven minutes in, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman jumped in from the point and wheeled around the net, setting up Ross Colton, who won the battle for positioning against three Hurricanes in front of the net, for his first NHL goal.
Hedman with a beautiful set up for Ross Colton's first @NHL goal! pic.twitter.com/yztVIjZTOR— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) February 24, 2021
Tampa Bay extended its lead to two with a late-period power-play goal, as Yani Gourde slid a pass across the slot to Blake Coleman for the tap-in.
The second period was nearly as bad as Monday’s first for the Canes, but they managed to come out of it still only down a pair. Tampa dominated puck possession until the late stages and tilted the ice, outshooting the Canes 11-8.
It appeared Ondrej Palat might have given the Bolts a 3-0 lead midway through but it was ruled he pushed Nedeljkovic into the net.
Even a power play midway through the period couldn’t get Carolina going, as the Lightning had multiple shorthanded chances, including a breakaway for Gourde that Nedeljkovic turned aside.
The Canes finally got some sustained offense going late in the period with a strong shift from Jordan Staal’s line that ended in a good chance for the catapin, but Vasilevskiy was up to the task.
The Canes poured it on in the third period and peppered Vasilevskiy with nine shots, mostly of the high-danger variety, but could not find the back of the net as they were shut out for the first time since Jan. 13, 2020.
Carolina and Tampa Bay with wrap up this four-game set that the Lightning currently lead 2-0 in Tampa tomorrow.