The Lightning came out hard in the first, obviously embarrassed about the 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the Bruins. They had the Avs hemmed in their zone early and often but Peter Budaj kept the Avs in the game, including making one hell of a save on Pavel Kubina on the tail end of a power play (by the way, Dominic Moore flying to the ice off a little push by Kyle Quincey was exceedingly lame). But he couldn't do it forever and Tampa took the lead when a bad bounce put the puck on Nate Thompson's stick right in the slot. The only Avs line that was going in the first period was the Philippe Dupuis, Brandon Yip, Cody McLeod. They were the only line to get any good zone time before the last few minutes and Dupuis got a goal, putting a soft shot on net that sneaked by Dan Ellis. Matt Hunwick got his first Avalanche point assisting on the goal. Late in the period, the Avs got a 5 on 3 for 30 seconds. The worst excuse I've seen for a 5 on 3 in some time. The Avs had problems entering the freaking zone. The Avs escaped into the second with a 1-1 tie. Shots at the end of 1, 9-5 in favor of the Lightning.
The Avs wasted their power play to start the period and Tampa took the lead with a soft goal of their own. Martin St. Louis threw a back hand on net that went five-hole on Budaj even though he saw it all the way. Less than a minute later, Mattias Ritola corralled a rebound in the slot and put it over the prone Budaj. Ugh. Matt Duchene restored a little hope when he slapped at a rebound until it went in after Tomas Fleischmann hit the post. That was also Fleischmann's first Avalanche point. Quincey then took a very stupid penalty while the Avs were already on the kill. I think it was kind of weak call but what he did is consistently called a slash in today's NHL. The Lightning showed the Avs what a 5 on 3 is supposed to look like and Simon Gagne got an easy one. John-Michael Liles made a save on Steven Stamkos while Budaj was down and out to keep the Lightning from getting the KO goal. Greg Mauldin came very close to getting a shorthanded goal when he surprised Ellis and a Tampa defender with his speed. Ellis made a very good save on Mauldin's attempted wraparound. Shots at the end of the second, 29-16 in favor of Tampa.
The Avs started the period with one of the nicest passing plays I've seen all season. Hejduk passed it in traffic to Kevin Shattenkirk, who seems to have an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, who found a wide open Paul Stastny for an easy goal. Tampa responded very well though and dominated the Avs in their own zone for the next few minutes until Quincey took another penalty. Another weak roughing call but he seems to take a lot of penalties at inopportune times. Ryan Malone scored on the power play, wristing it past Budaj's glove side after he considered passing it a few times. Budaj is so weak on his glove side! Liles got a ten minute misconduct right afterward. Not sure why. Maybe he had issue with the linesman since it looked like Tampa was offsides a bit before the goal. Sacco said it had something to do with him shooting the puck off the end boards after the goal. Too bad since the Avs really could have used him on the power play they got a couple minutes later and looked terrible on. The Lightning put the nail in the Avs coffin when Sean Bergenheim tipped in a Mike Lundin point shot. The Avs finally did get a power play goal when Duchene made a slap pass to Yip who tipped it in. Shortly thereafter, Hejduk tipped (kicked?) in a goal from the slot, receiving a nice pass from Fleischmann who got it from a sick behind the back pass from Shattenkirk (who got credit for the goal initially somehow). Stupid Avs drawing me back in after I'd given up. The Lightning managed to keep the Avs from tying it though. Shit.
- Ryan O'Reilly has become invisible. His only offensive contribution seems to be that slap shot coming down the left side (visions of Smyth). He is still good defensively but I don't know...let's hope Sacco works some magic on him. He'd probably have been scratched by now if the Avs were healthy.
- Matt Duchene has it going on right now but seems to have trouble sparking the rest of the team. I miss CGDS.
- Kevin Shattenkirk this time has taken the lead in rookie points with 14 in 15 games.
- Awful game by the goaltenders. Ellis finished with .792 save percentage. Budaj was a bit better (.846) but the Avs were fucking horrible defensively.
- Matt Hunwick had an assist tonight but wasn't great. I'm not to fond of him yet. I'll let a few more games go before I judge, though.
- Refs were atrocious tonight. Not what cost the Avs the game though.
- Winnik, Stastny, Hejduk
- Fleichmann, Duchene, Jones
- McLeod, Dupuis, Yip
- Porter, O'Reilly, Mauldin
- Shattenkirk, Quincey
- Hunwick, Foote
The Avs are at Florida on Tuesday. So far they've been dominated by the SE division. Which sucks.