DENVER — There was a moment during Friday night's game with the Avalanche you had to wonder if the Lightning would come to regret:
Captain Vinny Lecavalier failing to add to a one-goal lead late in the second period at the end of a two-on-none with Steve Downie.
And after a 2-1 shootout loss at the Pepsi Center, it indeed loomed large as Tampa Bay (11-11-9) got a point for the regulation tie but failed to win for the seventh time in eight games.
The Lightning lost the three-round shootout 1-0 with Lecavalier, Stephane Veilleux and Alex Tanguay failing to score on Craig Anderson. Tampa Bay is 1-for-6 in shootouts this season, its shooters 2-for-22.
That came after a third period in which the Avalanche had an 18-4 shot advantage and scored on a fluke goal to tie the score with 7:49 left.
Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki, who was outstanding with 33 saves, stopped Paul Stastny's shot only to see it ricochet in off of Wojtek Wolski in front of the net. Wolski also scored the shootout's only goal.
"We couldn't make a play," coach Rick Tocchet said of the third period. "We were on our heels and looking for anybody to settle things down. They only had 14 shots in the first two periods. And we were fine. You knew they would start to come. And we didn't have an answer for them."
The Lightning played a solid first period, had a 10-8 shot advantage and took a 1-0 lead on Downie's goal.
Tampa Bay applied pressure from the outset as Marty St. Louis hit a post 33 seconds into the game.
Downie scored his sixth goal of the season with 7:48 left on a sequence that began with Lightning defensemen losing and regaining the puck at the Avalanche blue line.
St. Louis got the puck and drove to the net. Anderson stopped his shot and Lecavalier's rebound try. But he could not go right to left fast enough to stop Downie.
A close-checking second period had little drama as Tampa Bay held a 7-6 shot advantage with both teams going significant time without getting a puck on net.
The biggest moment came with 1:37 left on the two-on-none with Lecavalier and Downie.
The play began with Downie blocking Brett Clark's shot at the Lightning blue line. Lecavalier took Downie's pass in the offensive zone, but his wrist shot toward a corner hit Anderson in the blocker.
It was Tampa Bay's first shot in 9 minutes, 22 seconds.
"I thought I had the low blocker. But I shot on the blocker," Lecavalier said. "When he passed it to me, I thought there was a shot on the low blocker.
"But that wasn't the shot that came out."
|Avalanche wins shootout 1-0|
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Downie 6 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 12:12. Penalties—Veilleux, TB (slashing), 17:49.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Tucker, Col (high-sticking), 1:31.
Third Period—2, Colorado, Wolski 12 (Stastny, Wilson), 12:11. Penalties—Meszaros, TB (hooking), 2:08; Downie, TB (slashing), 4:47.
Shootout—Tampa Bay 0 (Veilleux NG, Lecavalier NG, Tanguay NG), Colorado 1 (Stewart NG, Duchene NG, Wolski G). Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 10-7-4-1—22. Colorado 8-6-18-2—34. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 1; Colorado 0 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Niittymaki 6-4-4 (34 shots-33 saves). Colorado, Anderson 15-7-5 (22-21). A—12,188 (18,007).