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Recap: Lightning Struggle to Find Offense in 4-0 Loss to Avalanche

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Strong defensive play allows Avalanche to spoil 20th anniversary of the Ice Palace.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It just seemed like one of those games. Recording only 16 total shots on net, the Avalanche were able to put up 11 scoring chances, four of which the Bolts were unable to defend. This can be compared to the Bolts’ 27 shots with 16 scoring chances; a big difference seemed to be Colorado's defensive play.

1st Period

This was an odd start to a hockey game. And by odd, I mean dull. There wasn’t much offense to be had as there was just about 10 total shots on goal through the period. The Bolts had seemed as if they came to play with a definite game plan in mind but really had trouble getting much going. J.T. Brown had a decent scoring chance that came off of a blunder by Semyon Varlomov as he tried to play the puck — but he was able to get back into position to make the save. Later in the period Kucherov also had a nice look at the top of the right circle, but hit the post (this trend would continue).

The lone goal would come with just seconds left in the period as Matt Duchene was able to break through two defenders (90 and 91) and shoot stick-side on Bishop. Although Bishop had a great initial kick save, Duchene was able to collect the rebound and cash in.

Within a minute of play Matt Duchene committed quite a nasty cross check on the unprotected side of Anton Stralman. Although he had only gotten the wind knocked out of him, it had seemed it could have been a worse injury as Stralman lay still after the hit.

Eventually, after some jawing back and forth, Boyle got into a scuffle with Cody Mcleod. Through two Avs infractions, the Bolts were able to have somewhat successful series of powerplays against a Colorado team that struggles on the penalty kill yet the Bolts were not able to capitalize on these chances.

Some quotes from a Victor Hedman interview during the intermission.

  • “We need to raise our game to another level and take more shots.”
  • “We (need to) try to create confusion in their end and try to give them something different.... a different look. A little more desperation. I think Varlomov sees the puck a little too much.”

2nd Period

The Bolts began strong with a nice neutral zone takeaway by Heddy to create a two on one scoring chance, but a diving poke check by an Avs defender stopped the attack.

Slightly later Jonathan Drouin created a nice zone entry and followed with a setup to Palat to get a shot off in the slot. The line of Drouin, Stamkos, and Palat had a strong opening shift which really set the pace for the first half of the period.

As the period went on and broke the halfway mark, the Bolts saw less offensive success. Colorado did a great job at positioning themselves throughout the neutral zone, which disallowed the Lightning from completing successful stretch passes.

Matt Duchene continued to have a night...

Play was stopped at one point due to the puck being lost in Duchene’s equipment.

Sustr received a high stick to the face that went uncalled and was stitched up by team trainer Tommy Mulligan. Iginla went to the box for hooking on Palat, and Kucherov continued to have chances that he was unable to complete.

The Lightning power play really had some great chances but again were unable to capitalize on a struggling Avs penalty kill.

Ref premature whistle, Duchene gets the redirect.

3rd Period

The 3rd period really sums up the night for Tampa Bay. The Bolts had continued offensive pressure and sustained shots as Colorado wasn’t able to complete a shot on net until 7:53 into the 3rd. This shot would prove to be all they would need as Andreas Martinsen scored quite the ringer.

The glass stanchions prove to be an issue for Bishop. The Avs dumped a puck into their offensive zone which Bishop believed would go around the corner and near the trap however the puck bounced off the stanchion and with Bishop out of place, Carl Soderberg was able to capitalize.

Game Notes

  • “The Avs defensively have been much better than the lightning and that in a nutshell is the difference in this game” - Fox Sports Color Analyst Brian Engblom
  • The Bolts were able to not concede a goal for all 3:40 they were with an empty net. That means something... Right?
  • Nesty gets first shot on power play.
  • The next 12 of 16 games are away. Starting the season 3-1 on a four game home stand sets a good tone for the beginning of the season.
  • The Bolts through their first four games have not been able to score first and have been playing from behind.