Vegas blows three-goal lead in loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Vegas Golden Knights were hoping to enter the holiday break on a positive but ended up losing 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game where two solid periods of hockey wasn't enough.

To make matters worse Robin Lehner was out due to injury and earlier in the day Vegas suffered two positive Covid tests from Alex Pietrangelo and Evgeni Dadonov.

  • Vegas get off to a fast start

Laurent Brossoit got the start in goal for the Knights as they hosted the defending Stanley Cup champs. Five minutes into the first period Reilly Smith got Vegas first shot on goal but Andrei Vasilevsky was able to make a difficult save.

Smith had another great chance on the ensuing play when he was all alone but Vasilevsky once again denied him and on the following play Tampa took the 1-0 lead when Gabriel Fortier off a bad turnover beat Brossoit with a quick wrist shot.

Vegas got the first powerplay of the game when Correy Perry got called for tripping looking to even the game at one on the man advantage. The Knights worked the powerplay hard and it finally paid off as Max Pacioretty found Mark Stone at the side of the net and he put it in to tie the game at one.

 (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

With four minutes left in the period, Stone found himself alone on Vasilvesky with a great pass from Pacioretty but the goaltender made his 15th save of the game.

The Golden Knights were outshooting the Lightning 16-4 at this point of the game and clearly dominating in terms of offensive chances and puck possession.

With 37 seconds left in the period, Vegas was penalized for delay of game as Chandler Stephenson shot the puck over the glass. The first period ended with both teams tied at one.

  • An up and down period for Vegas

The Lightning started the period with 1:23 left on the man advantage looking to regain the lead. The Golden Knights were able to kill off the penalty and on the ensuing play, Stone gave Vegas the 2-1 lead when he beat Vasilevsky 5 hole with another quick shot.

Vegas continued to attack and throw everything at the net but Vasilevsky was standing tall in net and off a great shot from Jonathan Marchessault the puck broke his mask and Brian Elliot had to come in while his mask got repaired.

Elliot lasted one faceoff while Vasilevsky's mask got fixed and came back in after three seconds on the ice. Nicholas Roy made it 3-1 a couple of minutes later with a great deke going through three Lighting players and beating Vasilevsky's low glove side.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

With eight minutes left in the second frame, Brossoit made an incredible save on Perry to retain Vegas lead and on the ensuing counter-attack, Smith got a breakaway but was tripped. 

Vegas continued to pepper Vasilevsky with shots and at this point, the Tampa goaltender had made 27 saves. The Lightning reduced Vegas lead to one when Pierre Edouard Bellemare beat Brossoit in front for his 50th career goal.

That goal seemed to spark Tampa and they tied the game at three on the following play when Anthony Cirelli with a backhand beat Brossoit. Pat Maroon almost gave them the lead but was denied by the Vegas goaltender.

The second period ended with the score tied at three with 20 minutes left in regulation.

  • Tampa completes the comeback 

The final period got off to a fast start and three minutes into the period Vegas got their second powerplay of the game when Jan Ruuta got called for roughing.

Despite controlling the play on the man advantage Tampa was able to kill it off. Stephenson almost gave Vegas the lead again as he skated by all five Lightning players before Vasilevsky made a save on a breakaway attempt.

With 11 minutes left in regulation, it was Vegas turn to get penalized as he was called for hooking and it was the Lightning turn once again on the powerplay.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos with four seconds left on the man advantage with a one-timer from the top of the circle that beat Brossoit top shelf to make it 4-3 for the visitors.

Stamkos almost had his second of the game late in the period but Brossoit made a solid save to keep it a one-goal game. With one minute and 47 seconds left head coach Pete Deboer pulled Brossoit looking for a late goal.

With 20 seconds left the Golden Knights had a great opportunity but again Vasilevsky was shutting the door making an incredible split save. The final siren went and Tampa's comeback was complete.

The loss to the Lightning ends Vegas five-game winning streak and the Knights go into the break on a loss.

  • Coaches reaction 

After the game in his post-game press conference head coach, Pete Deboer was not happy with the loss but was pleased with his team's effort.

" It's disappointing not to win, we put a lot of effort and work into that game and we did some really good things for long stretches, you like to get rewarded with points tonight for that but there is a reason they have the record they have and I thought Vasilevsky was the best player on the ice and when the other goalie is on his game like that it's going to be tough so I'm proud of our group and we have been dealt adversity since day one this year and we haven't made excuses and worked and battled right to the buzzer every night and I think our resiliency is something I really liked".

The Vegas Golden Knights will next be in action on December 27th when they will host the Colorado Avalanche.

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