Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning suffer a power outage against Avalanche
TAMPA - The Lightning's seemingly improved power play is obviously still a work in progress. After scoring power-play goals in its seven previous games, and 10 of its previous 11, Tampa Bay went 0-for-7 with the man advantage Monday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. That told the story of a 3-0 loss to the Avalanche in front of an announced crowd of 12,214. "Obviously our power play pretty much lost us the game," right wing Marty St. Louis said. "We had three (chances) early and we didn't get anything accomplished. That falls on our top guys, especially me. I'm out there quite a bit."Colorado goalie Craig Anderson blocked all 33 shots to record his third shutout of the season, but the Lightning didn't challenge him much until the third period. The result: Tampa Bay was shut out for the first time since falling to Ottawa 3-0 at home March 29. After going unbeaten in regulation through their first nine games in the Forum, the Lightning have dropped two out of three. Monday's loss also left them two points shy of tying the franchise record for most points in November (18 by the 2006-2007 team). "We thought it was going to be easy at the beginning of the game, and obviously, Anderson is one of the top goalies in the league," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. "We tried to come on at the end, the third period, but we wasted 40 minutes." Colorado got one goal in the first and one in the second from 18-year-old center Matt Duchene, who has tallied seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last six games. Wojtek Wolski added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left in the game after Antero Niittymaki blocked 26 of 28 shots. Chris Stewart assisted on both of Duchene's goals, and T.J. Galiardi, who gave the Lightning fits, assisted on the final goal. "We had chances, but not enough," St. Louis said. "I think they sat back in the third (period), and we took advantage of it. I thought we spent a lot of time in their zone. We could have generated more, but we didn't." Most disappointing was Tampa Bay's power play, which had climbed from the bottom third of the NHL rankings to the middle third in recent weeks. "Anderson played well, but us as a power play, I don't think the guys are too happy," defenseman/forward Kurtis Foster said. "I think we were trying to make too pretty of plays early and not being simple. "You have to simplify when things aren't going well. In the third period, we started shooting the puck more. Everything happens off that - rebounds, nice plays after rebounds. We just have to get back to basics." The Lightning will play four times in the next seven days: at Boston on Wednesday, at New Jersey on Friday, home against the Islanders on Saturday and home against the Capitals on Monday. "You can't waste too much time on these games," St. Louis said about Monday's loss. "Obviously, you have to address the situation, rectify the mistakes, but with 82 games on the schedule, you have to prepare for the next one."
Reporter Tony Fabrizio can be reached at (813) 259-7994.