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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."
Avs Mailbag:Pose a question for Terry Frei, Mike Chambers
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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