DENVER – The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered their fourth dropped decision in six games in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night at Pepsi Arena.
Despite heading into the final period of play with a one-goal lead, the Bolts surrendered four unanswered tallies, including two empty netters, to end the season series with Colorado at one win apiece.
"Special teams killed us," head coach Jon Cooper said. "That's a tough one with a tie game with under five minutes to go and I thought we were getting points in this one, but we let it slip out of our hands. We have to figure this out."
Netminder Ben Bishop suffered his third loss in his past six games and allowed more than two goals for the first time since the end of January.
It was also the second time during this current road trip that the Lightning have given up a lead and found themselves suffering a setback.
After seeing both sides come out with jump to start the contest, the Lightning managed to strike first. Tom Pyatt opened up scoring at 16:49 of the opening frame, but 30 seconds later the Avalanche knotted the game at one with a marker from Tyson Barrie. With 58.6 seconds to go in the first Ryan O'Reilly found the back of the net by scoring on Bishop five-hole to give the Avs a 2-1 lead.
Thompson added a pair of goals for a 3-2 Lightning edge by the end of 40 minutes of play. At 6:40 of the second period Thompson found an opportunity short side on netminder Semyon Varlamov to even the game at two. Michael Kostka also notched his first point as a Bolt with a helper on Thompson's goal. Then skating down the left side of the ice Thompson threw the puck on net and followed up on his own rebound, which made it to the back of Varlamov's cage for the one-goal lead at 17:37.
Before the end of the second, defenseman Radko Gudas left the game for the locker room as his left leg appeared to be bothering him. Though taking a test skate to start the third, Gudas did not return to the game with a lower body injury.
Colorado took advantage of the power play for a 3-3 game 5:12 into the third period. O'Reilly fed the puck to Nick Holden across the crease, who scored on Bishop stick side.
The Avalanche then added three more goals to conclude the game with a 6-3 final. The first came from Erik Johnson, as it seemed Bishop never saw the wrist shot coming from the right side of the boards outside the face-off circle at 16:05 of the third. Tampa Bay tried to pull Bishop twice and add an extra attacker on the ice, but each ended with another Colorado goal from Holden for his second and Paul Stastny.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay heads to St. Louis to close out their longest remaining road trip of their regular season slate versus the Blues. The Lightning will be facing off against newly acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott Tuesday at Scottrade Center. The Bolts then return to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the first home game in nearly a month on Thursday versus division rival the Buffalo Sabres.