Tampa Bay Lightning
Bolts lose to Avalanche in OT on bad-angle goal
DENVER - The Tampa Bay Lightning earned a rare road point, but the normally friendly confines of overtime proved more like the Grinch on Friday night. Matt Duchene scored 3 minutes, 38 seconds into overtime on a bad-angle shot that squeezed through the legs of Mathieu Garon, who was otherwise strong in stopping 27 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to Colorado. The victory was a franchise-record eighth consecutive at home for the Avalanche, while Tampa Bay fell to 6-12-3 on the road this season. It was the first time this season the Lightning dropped a decision during the four-on-four overtime session. Tampa Bay had won the previous four overtime decisions.Duchene skated past Vinny Lecavalier to get a forehand chance on goal that found a hole past Garon. "He shot it wide off (my) pad, maybe six inches off the post and my left leg," Garon said. The Lightning head into the Christmas break near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 14-17-3 record, nine points out of a playoff spot and only three points out of last place in the East. Looking for a stronger start than Wednesday's debacle in San Jose when Tampa Bay gave up five goals in the opening 15 minutes, the Lightning controlled most of the play in the Colorado zone for good portions of time. But as has been the case, Tampa Bay had difficulty capitalizing on any chances it created. Late in the period, however, Marty St. Louis dropped a pass to Lecavalier, who then left a drop pass for Pavel Kubina. He initially mishandled the puck before getting a wrist shot that found its way through J-S Giguere with 1:51 left for a 1-0 lead. The goal was the first for Kubina since Oct. 22 and marked just the 15th time in 34 games Tampa Bay scored first. The period ended with Tampa Bay holding a 14-5 shot advantage. Yet, even with a power play to start the second period, the Lightning failed to build momentum off the early lead, coming up empty with the man advantage. That seemed to help spark the Avalanche, who started to out-skate Tampa Bay in the second. The Lightning stopped moving their feet and had difficulty completing passes and getting control of fumbling pucks. That eventually caught up with the Bolts midway through the period. After a fumbled pass up the ice, Colorado came back in the zone and capitalized when former Tampa Bay defenseman Shane O'Brien zipped a shot from the right point that was stopped by Garon, but Ryan O'Reilly was at the side of the net to knock in the rebound at 10:03 of the second. Colorado gave Tampa Bay's power play another opportunity late in the second when Jay McClement took his second minor penalty of the night, but it came up empty. The futility continued late in the third as Colorado had the best chance on a late Tampa Bay power play, dropping the Lightning to 7-for-74 on the power play on the road. Garon made a couple of terrific saves in tight in the final minute to preserve the tie and send the game to overtime. "We didn't stick to the game plan, it's as easy as that," Steven Stamkos said. "We knew what we had to do, we totally dominated the first period and we just didn't keep doing what was working. … We gave up some momentum and never got it back."
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