The Tampa Bay Lightning (24-7-2) put themselves in position to earn at least one point, if not more, but the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights (22-9-2) had other ideas. Shea Thedore scored a power play goal with 2.9 seconds remaining in the third to claim a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay and deny the Lightning a point in the final game of a western road swing.
The first period the Lightning ever played in Las Vegas started better than anyone could have expected for the Lightning. Steven Stamkos scored a power play goal at the 7:43 mark of the first period to give the Bolts a 1-0 lead over a Las Vegas team that has exceeded everyone's expectations in their expansion season. When Vladislav Namestnikov scored another power play goal with under a minute to go in the period for the Lightning, it looked like it might be a good night in the desert for Tampa Bay.
The Golden Knights have not orchestrated such a successful start to their franchise by backing off in the face of adversity, and tonight was no difference. Facing a 2-0 hole in the second period, they began to put pressure on the Lightning. James Neal scored on the power play midway through the second to cut the Lightning lead to 2-1, then former Bolt Jonathan Marchessault scored (also on the power play) at the 18:21 mark to tie the game 2-2 going into the second intermission.
Las Vegas began the third period as well as they finished the second, and were able to take a 3-2 lead on Eric Haula's power play goal early. Up to this point, all five goals of the game had come on the power play. The Lightning bucked that trend, however, and had an answer for the Las Vegas pressure when Victor Hedman scored at the 16:08 mark to tie the game at 3-3. It appeared Tampa Bay would earn at least a point as the game wound into its final minute - but Shea Theodore came through with 2.9 seconds remaining to deny the Lightning a point and clinch a 4-3, regulation win.
Marc-Andre Fleury converted 35 saves in net to get the win for Las Vegas, while Andrei Vasilevskiy saved 32-of-36 shots on net in the loss. Tampa Bay returns home to take on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night - faceoff from Amalie Arena is set for 7:30, and coverage gets underway at 6:30 on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. TBL - PPG - Stamkos - (Hedman, Kucherov) - 7:43
2. TBL - PPG - Namestnikov - (Kucherov, Hedman) - 19:13
1. VGK - PPG - Neal - (Perron, Theodore) - 10:07
2. VGK - PPG - Marchessault - (Perron, Thedore) - 18:21
1. VGK - PPG - Haula - (Theodore, Perron) - 4:42
2. TBL - Hedman - (Stamkos) - 16:08
3. VGK - PPG - Theodore - (Marchessault, Haula) - 19:57
1. VGK - McNabb - (Delaying Game) - 6:35
2. TBL - Koekkoek - (Hooking) - 15:58
3. VGK - Neal - (Slashing) - 18:13
1. TBL - Coburn - (Delaying Game) - 9:20
2. TBL - Kunitz - (Slashing) - 17:36
1. TBL -Sergachev - (High Sticking) - 4:33
2. VGK - Lindberg - (Slashing) - 7:26
3. VGK - Engelland - (Throwing Stick) - 17:52
4. TBL - Cobrun - (Holding the Stick) - 19:36
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 38
Las Vegas - 36