BY: John Mamola
Erik Johnson’s phantom wrist shot slid past Ben Bishop in the waning moments of the third period as the Colorado Avalanche added a couple of empty net goals before time expired to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3. Two goals for Nate Thompson, who has struggled all season long to find the back of the net, was not enough as the Bolts drop their second game of their current four game road trip.
The Lightning looked to capitalize off their win in Dallas early controlled the pace of the game early getting quality chances against Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Tom Pyatt notched the first tally of the game with just over three minutes to play in the first period with a wrister that went top shelf putting the Lightning up 1-0.
The Avalanche answered back and answered back quickly as just thirty seconds later Tyson Barrie walked through the Bolts defense and went five-hole on Ben Bishop tying the game at one. Colorado wasn’t done in the first as they took the lead with just under a minute to play as Ryan O’Reilly took advantage of a bad turnover in the Bolts zone by Sami Salo and wristed a bullet past Bishop making it 2-1 Colorado.
Nate Thompson broke a barrage of offense by the Avalanche in the second period with a goal to tie the game at two. Colorado came out shooting to begin the period for about the first six minutes of the game as the Lightning couldn’t get anything going. Thompson would play savior again in the second netting his second goal of the night following up his own shot, and the Bolts led after two periods 3-2.
The Avalanche sealed their victory in the third with four straight goals with a power play tally and a couple of empty netters. The Lightning’s penalty kill struggles continued as Nick Holden tapped in a one timer to tie the game at three a piece on the power play about five minutes into the period. The Bolts have allowed three goals on their last eleven penalty kill chances.
Erik Johnson put Colorado in front for good as his wrist shot from the far boards snuck past Ben Bishop into the back of the net giving Colorado the lead at 4-3. The Avalanche added a couple of empty net goals by Holden and Paul Stastny, and the Lightning have dropped two of their first three games since returning from the Sochi Olympics break.
Ben Bishop finished with 29 saves on 33 shots while Michael Kostka had his first two points of his NHL career with two assists in the game. The Lightning were outshot 35-34 for the game.
The Lightning will wrap up their four game road trip on Tuesday in St. Louis to faceoff with Ryan Miller and the Blues. Catch all the action on 970WFLA beginning at 7:30pm.