The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped their first game against the Colorado Avalanche since the 2022 Stanley Cup Final Monday night as the Avalanche defeated the Lightning 4-1. Monday was the first of a back-to-back as the Lightning will have the chance to bounce back in 24 hours in Arizona.
Tampa Bay came back to earth after their 8-2 win in Carolina on Friday in which they scored on over half of their shots on goal. They managed 40 shots in Colorado and only had one goal to show for it. That’s hockey.
Conceding the First Goal
Monday night marked the seventh time in their last eight games that the Lightning have surrendered the opening goal. On the road against a team like Colorado, that presents a steep hill to climb. That hill became steeper in the second period as the Lightning went down 3-0 and Tampa Bay found themselves chasing the game throughout.
While regularly conceding the first goal is not part of the plan, the Lightning have managed to get points from this stretch. In those seven games, the Lightning have gotten seven points. Despite doing alright when giving up the first goal, they would prefer to not be chasing in games as much as they have been lately.
Special Teams Swing
The Lightning power play has been absolutely dynamite this season. They netted four power play goals Friday in Carolina alone. Their power play has the ability to keep them in any game but their hot power play was not there to save them Monday in Denver. The Lightning power play went empty in their three chances including twice in the first period after going down 1-0.
Tampa Bay’s penalty kill has been exceptional as well this season. They had another fine night on the penalty kill Monday as they killed off four Avalanche power plays. The problem was the timing as Colorado’s third goal came on the man advantage in the second period and was really the back breaker for the Lightning as Cale Make put the Avalanche up 3-0 and the game out of reach
Not Their Night
It became evident pretty early that this was just not the Lighnting’s night. The first goal for Colorado came off a two-on-one that was set up after Victor Hedman fell in the neutral zone. The second goal came off a brilliant save by Andrei Vasilevskiy that set up a big rebound opportunity that left Vasilevskiy frozen. Both of those first two Avalanche goals came from Ryan Johansen.
If the tough breaks on defense were not enough, the Lightning had similar misfortune on offense. Their first goal of the night was called back for a close offsides goal that denied Mikey Eyssimont a goal that would have cut into the deficit in the second. Even when you thought they had something going, it was not meant to be.
Anthony Cirelli got the Lightning’s lone goal late in the second period but Tampa Bay was not able to carry the momentum over to the third.