DENVER — Jonathan Drouin's only overtime shift Sunday will be remembered for a while.
It was a dazzling 47 seconds, with the puck on the Lightning wing's stick for most of it.
"I was gassed," Drouin said.
Drouin was also determined. With the Lightning blowing a two-goal lead for the second straight night — this time with 41 seconds left — it desperately needed the second point. Drouin made sure of it, his slick steal-and-deke display on the winner lifting Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
"He wasn't going to be denied on that shift," goalie Ben Bishop said. "He was a man on a mission.
"A pretty heroic effort."
The Lightning (26-24-8) absolutely had to have this one. While it notched a point for a season-high sixth straight game, it couldn't afford to leave a two-game trip against the reeling Stars and worst-in-the-NHL Avalanche with just two. Not with it fighting for its playoff life.
"I can't stress enough about how this extra point tonight helps," Bishop said.
The Lightning thought it had two points in regulation, but a Matt Duchene shot from the right circle heading wide somehow bounced off both Victor Hedman and Jake Dotchin past Bishop, who had lost his stick.
"Just an unfortunate bounce," Bishop said. "But guys didn't get down."
Neither did Bishop, who delivered another strong performance with 27 saves, winning his fourth straight start. He was at his best in the first period, when Tampa Bay was on its heels, the Avalanche creating several grade-A chances. And Bishop came through in overtime, racing out of the net to thwart a potential breakaway by Nathan MacKinnon.
"Bish was great all night," Drouin said.
So was Nikita Kucherov, who had a career-high nine shots but surprisingly was held off the scoresheet for the fourth straight game. "He was outstanding," coach Jon Cooper said.
Kucherov's reunited Triplets line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat was the Lightning's best. Johnson should have had a goal in the third that would have made it 3-1, but it was overturned on a challenge for goalie interference. Johnson was outside the crease when he got tangled with goalie Calvin Pickard.
"I think the rule has to be changed a little bit," Johnson said. "The ref tried to say I had room to get my skate out of the way, but there's no room with a (defenseman) right there. We've been burned on that before."
But Drouin's clutch play made that controversial call a footnote. Drouin pounced on a loose puck in the slot, stripping Matt Nieto. Then Drouin shook Pickard before slipping a backhand in, his emphatic fist pump starting a megapile celebration near the boards.
"That's what he does," Cooper said of Drouin. "He's a gifted, gifted player. And get him that close to the net with the puck and a little bit of time, and space, and he can do some pretty magical things. And you saw that (Sunday)."
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Point 8 (Killorn, Hedman), 18:18. Penalties—Filppula, TB, (hooking), 6:47; Comeau, COL, (roughing), 12:01; Dotchin, TB, (slashing), 18:38.
Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 7 (Filppula, Boyle), 10:09. Penalties—Zadorov, COL, (high sticking), 3:31; Brown, TB, (slashing), 12:46.
Third Period—3, Colorado, Rantanen 13 (Comeau, Duchene), 2:46. 4, Colorado, Duchene 16 (Mackinnon, Barrie), 19:18. Penalties—Drouin, TB, (cross checking), 4:57.
Overtime—5, Tampa Bay, Drouin 17, 2:27. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 17-13-7-3—40. Colorado 8-6-14-1—29. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 2; Colorado 0 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 15-12-3 (29 shots-27 saves). Colorado, Pickard 10-18-2 (40-37). A—17,270 (18,007). T—2:48.