Sluggish start dooms Bolts vs. Avs

by Gary Shelton on February 11, 2022

in general

Vasilevskiy stopped a season-high 44 shots./Tim Wirt

Friday, 4 a.m.

It wasn't the height that beat the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night.

It was the speed.

For all the talk about the altitude in Colorado, it was a sluggish start that doomed the Bolts in a 3-2 loss to the Avalanche. The Avs scored two goals in the first 6:16 of the first period and took the game's first 13 shots. For the period, the Avs had 24 of their 47 shots.

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The Bolts played better afterward, but the slow sstart was too much for them.

“We sped up our game," Lightning coach Cooper said. "I don’t think we could have skated any slower to start. I think we went backward more than we went forward. That was the difference. We gave those guys those first 10-12 minutes, and in the end it cost us.

“We’re way better than that. We know it. We should have come out a little better than we did."

The Bolts fell into a fourth-place tie in NHL, trailing Colorado, Carolina and Florida and tied with Pittsburgh.

"They came out skating," said Brayden Point, who had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. "They're a fast team. We weren’t skating. We were stuck in the mud, trying to make too many passes. We tried to pass our way out of the zone instead of working our way out."

The Bolts played the last 3:14 with an empty net, but the extra attacker didn't help.

"We were slow and mismanaged the puck," said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "You feed a team like that and give them momentum and they capitalize. We don’t want to give ourselves a hole and have to climb back."

Andrei Vasilevskiy had a season-high 44 saves in the game.

Nikita Kucherov and Point scoed the Lightning's goals.

The Lightning plays again tonight at the Arizona Coyotes. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8:30 p.m.

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