Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson appeared in his first game after missing the previous four contests due to injury. Similarly, Antero Niittymaki earned his first action in seven days after yielding goaltending duties to teammate Mike Smith.
Following both goaltenders’ performance on Friday night at the Pepsi Center, however, it’s as if they were never gone.
Anderson made 21 stops on 22 shots against
and Niittymaki saved 33 of 34 as the Avalanche beat the Lightning 2-1 in a shootout for their first win in their current home stand.
“We’ve been struggling as of late, and on this road trip we wanted to come out strong from the start and put the puck in the net,” Downie said. “Coming in here [Denver] with the altitude and everything, our main focus was to take short shifts, and I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
The Avalanche’s Paul Stastny nearly tied the
game in the second period, but his shot off of the post preserved Tampa Bay’s one goal lead.
Wojtek Wolski, though, made the most of Colorado’s second opportunity. The Avalanche forward tied the game at 12:11 when a feed from Stastny drifted across the crease and hit off Niittymaki’s arm before finding the back of the net.
Following the equalizer Niittymaki made numerous clutch saves within the last minute of play in regulation, forcing the game into overtime.
After a scoreless extra session, Wolski scored the lone game-winning goal in the third round of the shootout before the Bolts’ Alex Tanguay missed the mark in an effort to extend the contest.
“I think we need to keep it simple. It’s just a matter of executing and playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Tanguay said.
Ryan Malone, who returned to action after an early exit in his last game on Wednesday against Edmonton, appeared in his 400th career NHL game.
Despite the loss, the Lightning also extended their success in eliminating opposing power play chances. Tampa Bay killed off all three of their penalties in the game, improving their success rate to 87.5 percent in two meetings against Colorado this season.
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