(Photo via NHL.com)
By Michael Wax
In their first game in nine days, the Lightning fell 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.
The following players missed last night's game due to injury:
TBL: D Erik Cernak, D Zach Bogosian
COL: F Nathan MacKinnon
Despite the return of Nikita Kucherov after a three game absence, the Lightning took a while to find their legs after nearly a week and a half off, leading to some sloppy defensive play. The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 13-0 to start the game, and scored the game's first two goals. A bad Ryan McDonagh turnover led to sustained Colorado pressure and a tip-in goal from Gabe Landeskog, while Devon Toews buried a cross-cress pass from Nazem Kadri during 4-on-4 play to make it 2-0 Avs.
After that rough start, the Lightning responded with a beautiful give-and-go goal to cut the deficit in half, Nikita Kucherov from Brayden Point.
Overall, the Lightning gave up 24 shots on net to the Avalanche in the first period, tied for 2nd all-time in a single period in Lightning history.
While the Lightning's play was a lot more crisp this period, Colorado once again found their way onto the scoresheet during 4-on-4 play. Cal Foote delievered a solid hit in the offensive zone, but a defensive breakdown in coverage led to a 2-on-1, which Valeri Nichushkin buried for a 3-1 lead.
With less than five minutes left in the second period, the Lightning caught a break. Mikhail Sergachev found Brayden Point behind the Avalanche defense, and he made moves and roofed it to cut the lead back to one.
By far the best period out of the Lightning, where they outshot the Avs 16-11 and had several offensive zone bursts. Once again, this was a goalie duel, with Vasilevskiy and Kuemper trading quality save after quality save. Ultimately, the Lightning couldn't get the tying goal, and the Lightning fell in their return to the ice.
38 Shots on Goal 47
48.5 Face-off % 51.5
0/3 Power play 0/3
8 PIM 8
18 Hits 23
22 Blocks 21
1 Giveaways 2
Our Three Stars
1. Vasilevskiy (TBL): 44 Saves
2. Kuemper (COL): 36 Saves
3. Point (TBL): 1 Goal, 1 Assis
Media's Three Stars
1. Toews (COL): 1 Goal, 1 Assist
2. Nichushkin (COL): 1 Goal
3. Point (TBL): 1 Goal, 1 Assist
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