On and evening with the stands full of Jedi and Sith, the Duck side simply couldn't find a way to bullseye one more womp rat.
"We did a lot of good things... For the most part I liked our work ethic and what we did tonight, [we] ran into a good goaltender so tip your cap to them. The effort was there, we just didn't get the result we wanted," Cam Fowler, who tied Scott Niedermayer for fourth in the franchise record books amongst defensemen by appearing in his 371st game, said to Prime Ticket.
The teams skated through a scoreless first period despite one power play chance for the Ducks and three for Tampa, and in the second stanza saw as many goals scored as were disallowed. Anaheim did well to keep the Lightning from generating much with their speed through the neutral zone, but couldn't find the finish on a multitude of pucks in the slot area as the Bolts stacked the box in front of their Rancor-sized netminder.
Returning from an injury, Jonathan Drouin opened the scoring for the Lightning just over two and a half minutes in to the second period. Vladislav Namestnikov's shot caromed hard off the end boards back to the near circle for a waiting Drouin, who took advantage of a turned-around Clayton Stoner and snapped a shot through traffic for a 1-0 advantage.
Anaheim equalized 1:40 later when Rickard Rakell swung the puck to the front of the net is a mass of traffic. Ryan Getzlaf fished the puck from the pads of Bishop to Corey Perry at the bottom of the far circle, who whipped home the knotting score into the netting inside the far post. Tampa Bay had a pair of potential goals called off on a high-stick in front, as well as Ryan Callahan dumping Hampus Lindholm into John Gibson at the front of the net on a power play.
However the visitors made that man-advantage count, as Drouin retrieved a Valtteri Filppula chip behind the net and waited for Jonathan Marchessault to flash free at the far side face off circle hash. A quick pass was snapped home blocker-side even quicker, to give Tampa the 2-1 lead that would finish the final.
"We knew what they were going to do, but in the end we're 0/4 on the power play and they're 1/4 and that's the difference in the game," said head coach Bruce Boudreau to Prime Ticket.
The Ducks had a period-spanning power play opportunity to begin the final frame, as well as two additional odd-man chances with Matthew Carle and Steven Stamkos taking penalties, but couldn't convert on any of the six power play shots they had in the game.
"We seemed to be a bit out of sync. I think kind of as the quarterback a lot of that runs through me, I have to make sure we're coming up the ice together and coming with speed so we can enter the zone. We didn't get the puck set up for the most part in their end... They pressured us on the entries and we weren't able to get into a rhythm," Fowler said.
Anaheim had the edge in the analytic metrics as well, dominating even strength shot attempts 47-37, controlling scoring chances 22-17, and had a 13-6 edge in high danger chances. Bishop made 11 saves on shots from high danger areas at even strength, and made 14 from those spots for the game. Gibson finished with 21 saves in the defeat.
"The effort was fine. If you're looking for territorial edge or any of that I thought we outplayed them. In the end we've got to come up with the win, and it seems to be eluding us on a regular basis," said Boudreau.
The stretch of six home games in seven continues on Friday when the Ducks host the San Jose Sharks at 7 PM.
"It doesn't get any easier with San Jose, but we feel confident playing the way we're playing that good things are going to happen," Boudreau said.