Avalanche Freeze Lightning, 4-3
Third Period Comeback Falls Short
Another furious comeback by the Tampa Bay Lightning came up short tonight as the Bolts fell to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, 4-3.
The Lightning found themselves in a 3-0 hole after the first period, and the deficit proved too much to overcome, despite two power play goals in the third period.
The Lightning had scoring chances early in the game, but they were unable to convert them to goals; not so for the Avalanche, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead while Vincent Lecavalier
was in the penalty box for hooking. Colorado capitalized on the extra man advantage at 15:20 when Marek Svatos stickhandled between two Lightning defenders and slipped a pass to Jordan Leopold at the left of the Tampa Bay net. Leopold buried his chance, putting the puck high over Olaf Kolzig, who started in the net for Tampa Bay.
Goal number two for the Avalanche followed 2 minutes and one second later, off a rebound that Wojtek Wolski put behind Kolzig at 17:21. One minute and 36 seconds later, it was Wolski again, burying a tough angle shot when Kolzig had moved out to cut off the angle on a previous shooter.
At the conclusion of period one, Colorado led 3-0 on three goals in 3 minutes, 30 seconds. They had managed 10 shots on net, compared to the five shots the Lightning had generated, each of which was easily handled by goaltender Andrew Raycroft in the Colorado net.
As the second period began, Mike Smith
appeared in relief of Kolzig, who had seven saves on ten shots. Despite not having any warm-up time, Smith was sharp from the start, and he had to be, since nearly all the action early in the second stanza was in the Tampa Bay zone.
The Lightning started on the road back into contention at 12:17 when Vincent Lecavalier
slapped the puck past Raycroft for his team-leading tenth goal of the season. Paul Ranger and Ryan Malone
were credited with the assists.
As the second period came to a close, Smith had been successful in stemming the tide of Colorado goals and Tampa Bay had managed to score on one of their four shots in the period, and the scoreboard read 3-1.
The Lightning were skating a man short very early in the third period after Steven Stamkos
was sent off for hooking at 59 seconds of the stanza. Although Tampa Bay was success in killing the penalty, just seconds after the sides were equal again, Colorado forward David Jones scored on a backhander after Mike Smith
’s clearing pass was knocked down in the slot. The goal made the score 4-1, Colorado.
With 11:07 remaining to play, Tampa Bay picked up a man advantage when Tyler Arnason was called for hooking. With the penalty only 27 seconds old, the Lightning got closer to tying the game when Ryan Malone
got his seventh goal of the season, deflecting a shot by Steve Eminger into the Colorado net. Steven Stamkos
also got an assist on the power play goal. Malone’s goal was his fourth in as many games and combined with his earlier assist gave him seven points in the last five games.
The chance the Lightning needed to tighten the score even further came at 12:35 when Cody McCormick was given a four minute double minor for a high stick which cut Captain Vincent Lecavalier
. Tampa Bay sliced the Avalanche lead to 4-3 when Steven Stamkos
blasted a one-timer from the high slot past Raycroft for the team’s second power play goal of the night. Stamkos’s goal, his third of the season, was assisted by Lecavalier and Eminger.
Any hopes the Lightning had of tying the score were dashed when Paul Ranger was sent off for interference with only 2 minutes and 16 seconds remaining to be played.
The comeback had fallen short, and the result, a 4-3 loss, sent the Lightning down to their fourth game without a win.
The team moves on to Philadelphia for a game with the Flyers on Tuesday night which will conclude the road trip. Then it’s home to meet the Bruins and the Sabres in Tampa.
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