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Mishandling of the puck proves to be costly as Bolts fall to the Avalanche

Early mishandling of the puck along with 4-on-4 woes haunted the Lightning in a tough road loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado showed why they are one of the beasts in the West while it was Tampa’s first game back from the break. Colorado for the most part played a complete game that the Bolts could not answer.

Rough start for the defense

Out of the gate the Lightning defense played sloppy hockey. Constant mishandling of the puck allowed Colorado early scoring chances. Almost three minutes in the Avalanche cashed in on the sloppy puck handling by the Lightning. Gabriel Landeskog perfectly tipped in a shot from Mikko Rantanen to give the Avs an early 1-0 lead. Later on, Colorado received the first power play of the game after Ondrej Palat was called for cross-checking. The power play would not last long after Alex Newhook was called for tripping. Late on the 4-on-4 Colorado added to their lead. On the rush, Nazem Kadri fed the puck to Devon Towes who jammed the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy for the 2-0 lead.

Point and Kucherov magic

Tampa finally found some life after the early puck mishandling thanks to Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. After some back and forth passing, Point fed Kucherov a beautiful cross-ice feed that beat Darcy Kuemper to cut the Avs lead 2-1. Then, Colorado kept the pressure on Vasy who continuously bailed out the team to keep the score 2-1. Tampa would look to even the score in the second period while Colorado looked to add to their one goal lead.

Avalanche extend the lead

Beginning of the period did not start well for the Bolts. Jan Rutta was booked for cross-checking giving the Avalanche an early power play. Afterwards, the power play did not last long as Nazem Kadri was called for interference. Unfortunately, Colorado managed to score yet again during 4-on-4 play. Valeri Nichuskin extended the lead 3-1 from a pass from Andre Burakovsky. Despite being rattled on the play, Burakovsky was able to get the pass through leading to the goal. When it looked like the score would become 4-1 the Bolts caught a break. After the play was reviewed, the puck did not fully cross the line resulting in no goal.

Cutting the lead

Soon after Kadri coughed up another penalty this time for holding. Avalanche penalty kill remained perfect while the Bolts continued to look for answers on offense. Lightning’s puck possession improved compared to the first period yet still could not find a way to score a goal. Colorado remained poised until Tampa finally scored the goal they desperately were searching for. Sergachev fed a perfect stretch pass Brayden Point’s way that went past Kuemper to cut the lead 3-2. Rest of the period remained quiet, but the Point goal gave the Bolts some needed momentum that Colorado had for a majority of the game.

No luck for an equalizer

New period, same rough start for the Lightning. Colorado wasted no time pressuring Vasy again just like the previous periods. Bolts were able to counterattack but to no avail. Momentum did not swing to either team in particular and the game flow was smooth until midway through the period. Both Jack Johnson and Anthony Cirelli were called for penalties. 4-on-4 hockey for a couple minutes which was Tampa’s kryptonite throughout the night. For once the Lightning did not cough up a goal while playing 4-on-4. With just over three minutes to go the Lightning pull Vasy in hopes of tying the game up. Despite a flurry of shots on Kuemper, the Lightning could not get the equalizer and fall to the Avalanche 3-2 in large part due to early puck mishandling.

 

Three stars of the game

1st Star: Devon Toews – 1 goal, 1 assist

2nd Star: Valeri Nichushkin – 1 goal

3rd Star: Brayden Point – 1 goal, 1 assist

 

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