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Two nights after losing handily to the defending Stanley Cup

champions, the Avalanche on Tuesday fell in similar to fashion to last season's NHL runner-up.

For comparison purposes, the Avs failed miserably against the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning, the latter of whom won 4-0 on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center. Two days earlier in Chicago, the Blackhawks defeated Colorado 6-3.

In both games, the Avs trailed 3-0 midway through.

"We were flat from the get-go, didn't create any momentum and couldn't find ways to get back into the game," Avs forward Alex Tanguay said after the Lightning's third consecutive victory. "Very frustrating game."

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The Lightning got two goals from superstar Steven Stamkos and one each from Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. All four goals were at even strength, and Colorado was 0-for-2 on the power play.

Denver-born goalie Ben Bishop (21 saves) had a relatively easy night for the Bolts, who improved to 12-9-2 on the road. The Avs fell to 9-10-3 at home, where they had won their previous three.

Colorado was also shut out at home by Carolina (1-0 overtime) and Calgary (4-0).


"We had some breakdowns in our own zone, and they had their A-game," Avs coach Patrick Roy said. "It's not like I want to give them credit, but at the same time I understand we didn't have a good game. We were flat and didn't have any swagger."

Stamkos entered the game with a modest 18 goals, but he has scored four in his last four games. The two-time Maurice "Rocket" Richard winner as the NHL's leading goal scorer gave the Lighting leads of 2-0 and 3-0 at 1:39 and 5:16 of the second period.

First, Stamkos completed a splendid tic-tac-toe play with linemates Vladislav Namestnikov and Palat with a one-timer from the left circle. On the second, Stamkos drove to the top of the crease and one-timed Palat's feed from below the goal line.

Tampa Bay, which was concluding a four-game trip, outshot Colorado 15-9 after the first period, 27-17 after two periods and finished with a 38-21 advantage during Bishop's shutout.

"We didn't have a good first and we had to find a way to win in ugly fashion, just grinding it out," Colorado captain Gabe Landeskog said. "But all of a sudden it's 3-0, and that's when it gets away from us, when we start playing on our own, we don't stick together and things like that. It's something we definitely have to address."

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