TAMPA — Sleeping in your own bed is one thing, but waking up is another. And from the looks of it, the Lightning hit the snooze button Saturday night.
The Avalanche dominated in a 6-2 win at Amalie Arena in front of a sellout crowd of 19,092, the Lightning’s first game home after a six-game road trip.
A competitive first period turned into a frustrating second for Tampa Bay (4-3-1), a period that featured Colorado scoring three times in 2:49 to take a 4-1 lead. The third period left little to be desired.
The Lightning’s shots were lifeless, their turnovers abundant. Puck management went out the window.
The Lightning were simply outplayed.
“It’s a learning experience,” Anthony Cirelli said. “In this league, you have to play a full 60 minutes, and we took a few minutes off, and (they) capitalized on those chances.”
Kevin Shattenkirk harped on the four minor penalties the Lightning took, the kind they are trying to “bleed out” of their game.
“In our mind, there’s obviously good penalties and bad penalties,” he said. “There’s hard-working penalties and ones that you feel like you need to kill off for your teammate because he was working hard and trying to make the right play.”
The Avalanche were quick to strike, scoring the opening goal in the first 3:30 of the game. Tyson Jost grabbed the puck off a defensive turnover and outnumbered the Lightning on a sprint to the net, getting his second goal of the season.
Tampa Bay got a spark when Yanni Gourde tapped in the puck off a shot from Shattenkirk and a touch from McDonagh, tying the score at 1 at 17:35.
But in the second period, Jost tallied Colorado’s second and fourth goals of the night for his first career hat trick, and Gabriel Landeskog got on the board with Colorado’s third goal.
“Once you get the momentum shift like that, it’s hard to get back from,” the Lightning’s Tyler Johnson said.
Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point were quiet, not registering a point on 14 shots combined of the Lightning’s 46.
Kucherov was awarded a third-period penalty shot on a breakaway, but he harmlessly backhanded the shot over the net. It was the third time he missed a penalty shot this season.
Fans started to vacate Amalie Arena in the third period when Colorado’s Nazem Kadri got a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy for a 5-1 lead.
It appeared Tampa Bay just couldn’t get its footing in the game.
“We were chasing the game a lot,” Shattenkirk said.
“I think when we look at it, we had a lot of quality shots. I think if a handful of those go in, it’s a much different game. When we do generate a lot of shots, with the way this team plays, they’re usually pretty good chances. We can’t get away from it just because it didn’t pay off.”
A shot from Shattenkirk paid off later in the third. He shot from the point, and Victor Hedman deflected the puck in from the crease to make it 5-2.
Colorado put the exclamation point on the evening with its sixth goal, when Mikko Rantanen got the puck past Vasilevskiy and Hedman.
“We had a lot of chances,” coach Jon Cooper said. “It’s not like the chances weren’t there. But all that matters is how many go in the net, and (Colorado) had way more than us.”
Johnson knows that last season’s Lightning got some wins it shouldn’t have with the way it played and this year’s team can’t expect the same results.
“It’s a long season and a lot of learning,” Cirelli said. “We have a couple of days here to get better.”
The Lightning next plays Wednesday against the Penguins.
First Period—1, Colorado, Jost 2 (Girard, Wilson), 3:09. 2, Tampa Bay, Gourde 1 (Shattenkirk, McDonagh), 17:35.
Second Period—3, Colorado, Jost 3 (Compher, Wilson), 3:17. 4, Colorado, Landeskog 3 (Rantanen, MacKinnon), 5:48. 5, Colorado, Jost 4 (Wilson, Compher), 6:06.
Third Period—6, Colorado, Kadri 3 (Makar), 6:30. 7, Tampa Bay, Hedman 1 (Killorn, Shattenkirk), 11:48. 8, Colorado, Rantanen 5, 14:27.
Shots on Goal—Colorado 6-10-8_24. Tampa Bay 12-16-18_46.
Power-play opportunities—Colorado 0 of 2 Tampa Bay 0 of 2.
Goalies—Colorado, Francouz 2-0-0 (46 shots-44 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 4-2-0 (24-18).
A—19,092 (19,092). T—2:34.