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Chippy play continues Lightning penalty woes

Tampa Bay racks up 18 penalty minutes in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Colorado.
Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) tussle behind the Colorado net during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Oct. 20

TAMPA — Penalties plagued Tampa Bay over their recent six-game road trip, leading to nine power-play goals in 24 chances for the opposition.

Penalty troubles continued early in Saturday night’s 6-2 loss to the Avalanche at Amalie Arena when defenseman Braydon Coburn went to the box for slashing 4:33 in with his team down 1-0. But the Lightning killed off the power play.

Entering the game, the Lightning had 31 penalties through its first seven games, tied with the Sabres and Canucks for the ninth-highest total in the league. Their penalty-kill percentage, 67.8, ranked 28th, ahead of the Predators, Kings and Jets.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we stay out of the box,” defenseman Victor Hedman said before the game. “It starts with not taking unnecessary penalties.”

After Tampa Bay killed Colorado’s first power-play chance, it made five more trips to the penalty box as play grew chippier throughout the night. It finished with 18 penalty minutes — 10 coming on two fighting majors — and held the Avalanche scoreless on their two power plays.

Defenseman Erik Cernak landed in the box after a fight with Colorado forward Matt Calvert within the first two minutes of the second period. Later in the period, a pair of roughing penalties sent Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli and Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog off the ice. With less than a minute remaining, fans already streaming toward the exits and the Lightning down by four goals, Calvert and Hedman capped the night with one last brawl.

Tampa Bay finished the game with 18 penalty minutes, increasing its season average to nearly 11 per game, but held Colorado scoreless in their two power-play opportunities. Four Lightning penalties — Cernak and Hedman’s fighting, Cirelli’s roughing and Ondrej Palat’s tripping — did not result in power-play chances for Colorado because they were accompanied by offsetting penalties for the Avalanche.

Colorado’s second power play, coming after a Luke Witkowski crosscheck against Avalanche forward Tyson Jost early in the third period, lasted less than 30 seconds. A hooking penalty sent Landeskog to the box, promptly ending Colorado’s second and final power play opportunity of the night.

The Avalanche did their damage, all six goals-worth, without the advantage of extra numbers on the ice.

Contact Ryan Kolakowski at rkolakowski@tampabay.com. Follow @RyanKolakowski

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