First of all, a tip of the cap to the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche's performance was the best defensive effort the Lightning have seen so far this year. For most of the night, the Lightning had trouble generating speed through the neutral zone. In the offensive zone, they struggled to get open looks on Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Having written that, this wasn't necessarily a poor game for the Lightning. They held Colorado to just 16 shots. In terms of shot attempts, the Lightning held an advantage of 60-36. So it's not as if the Avs dominated possession and badly outchanced the Lightning. Instead, the difference in the game came down to a couple of nice, individual plays by Matt Duchene, some bad bounces for the Lightning and a two-on-one goal allowed late in the third when the Lightning were pressing in the offensive zone.
On the first Avalanche goal, Duchene got a breakaway after the puck bounced over the stick of Steven Stamkos at the Lightning blue line. Duchene did well to finish the rebound after Ben Bishop stopped the initial shot. Duchene's second goal was the result of a nifty tip of a point shot. Andreas Martinsen scored the third goal into an open net after the puck ricocheted off the glass in the Lightning zone. And the fourth tally came off a nice shot from Carl Soderberg on the aforementioned two-on-one.
At the other end, the Lightning missed some close chances. During a first period power play, Nikita Kucherov put a shot off the post when it appeared he had an open net. Later, Brayden Point had the puck hop over his stick when he was poised to finish a shot from in close. And the Lightning barely went offside just before Stamkos put the puck in the Colorado net.
Varlamov took care of the 27 shots the Lightning did record. He was very sharp in making not only the first save, but also swallowing up rebounds. Like the team in front of him, Varlamov played a strong game.
So this wasn't the Lightning's night. But they did finish their season-opening four-game homestand by banking six out of eight points. Now they begin a stretch of 19 out of 28 on the road, starting with a six-game road trip Saturday in Ottawa. The Lightning must find a way to "munch points", as Jon Cooper often says, during this difficult segment of the season.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Duchene's second goal, giving Colorado a 2-0 lead.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Matt Duchene - Avs. Two goals and assist.
2. Semyon Varlamov - Avs. Shutout win.
3. Carl Soderberg - Avs. Goal.