TAMPA — Matt Duchene, 18 years old, could teach the Lightning a thing or two about scoring goals.
The Avalanche rookie got two in a 3-0 victory Monday night at the St. Pete Times Forum by doing what Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet has implored his players to do — get to the net and get the puck on goal.
"And he got rewarded for it," Tocchet said.
On the other hand, Lightning players were left to kick themselves for playing on the perimeter, relying on the big shot rather than getting in close and going 0-for-7 on a supposedly rejuvenated power play.
Worse, they let a team that was winless in three straight and on a 4-7-3 streak dictate play for the first 40 minutes and take a 2-0 lead. The third period was better as Tampa Bay (10-7-8) had a 16-7 shot advantage.
But it was no consolation.
"As a coach you're almost (ticked) off even more," Tocchet said. "You say, 'If you would have put this effort in the first, we wouldn't have been in this situation.' "
You would think offensive urgency is a no-brainer for the Lightning as Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, with 17 and 15 goals, respectively, have 32 of the team's 66.
No other player has more than five.
Tampa Bay had three power-play chances in the first 10 minutes but managed only two shots. And consider Tampa Bay had a 6-2 shot advantage in the first 6:56 but was behind 21-17 after two periods.
"Everybody wants the shot," Tocchet said. "Everybody wants the pretty play. Every once in a while you have to get ugly with it."
When you don't, 16 shots get blocked (Vinny Lecavalier had four) and another 18 miss the net (Andrej Meszaros had four).
"We didn't do our job of keeping it simple," right wing Kurtis Foster said. "They have a lot of young guys over there who work hard and came to play. They kept it simple."
Duchene drove to the net in the first period and somehow squeezed a wrist shot under the arm of goalie Antero Niittymaki, who should have made the save. He created his second-period power-play goal in front of the net, where he converted his own rebound.
"They were more hungry for the two points than we were," Marty St. Louis said.
When Tampa Bay finally got hungry, goalie Craig Anderson was solid. He made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season and 10th of his career.
"We thought it was going to be easy at the beginning of the game," Tocchet said. "We tried to come on at the end, but we wasted the first 40 minutes."
Let that be a lesson.
First Period—1, Colorado, Duchene 5 (Stewart), 8:16. Penalties—Halpern, TB (high-sticking), 1:03; Quincey, Col (hooking), 2:57; Colorado bench, served by Tucker (too many men), 5:24; Wolski, Col (delay of game), 9:05; McLeod, Col, major (fighting), 17:54; Konopka, TB, major (fighting), 17:54.
Second Period—2, Colorado, Duchene 6 (Stewart, Stastny), 13:38 (pp). Penalties—Stamkos, TB (delay of game), :14; Malone, TB (hooking), 2:26; Stastny, Col (tripping), 3:25; Ohlund, TB (roughing), 6:11; Hendricks, Col (slashing), 8:39; Tampa Bay bench, served by Downie (too many men), 12:44; Konopka, TB, misconduct, 18:12.
Third Period—3, Colorado, Wolski 10 (Galiardi), 19:46 (en). Penalties—Galiardi, Col (boarding), 5:03; O'Reilly, Col (holding), 10:31. Shots on Goal—Colorado 9-13-7—29. Tampa Bay 9-8-16—33. Power-play opportunities—Colorado 1 of 5; Tampa Bay 0 of 7. Goalies—Colorado, Anderson 14-7-5 (33 shots-33 saves). Tampa Bay, Niittymaki 6-3-3 (28-26). A—12,214 (19,758). T—2:28.