Avalanche 2, Lightning 1, SO

The Colorado Avalanche got the bounce they needed to avoid a

fourth straight home loss.

Wojtek Wolski scored the only goal in a shootout, Craig Anderson

stopped all three Tampa Bay shots and the Avalanche beat the

Lightning 2-1 on Friday night.

Wolski had the Avalanche’s only regulation goal, and Anderson

made 21 saves to help Colorado snap a three-game home losing


“Lately we’ve been snakebitten,” Wolski said. “Tonight we

really put the effort forth.”

Antero Niittymaki made 33 saves, and Steve Downie scored for

Tampa Bay. The Lightning have lost seven of their last eight.

The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 26-12 after the first period

but were on the verge of their second straight 1-0 loss when Wolski

came through. Paul Stastny skated down the left boards and his

centering pass to the front of the net banked off a driving

Wolski’s leg with 7:49 remaining. It was Wolksi’s 12th goal of the


“Sometimes you just have to go to the net and get a lucky

bounce,” Wolski said. “I’ve had so many chances in the last

little while and they’re not going in. Sometimes you just have to

get the ugly ones.”

The way Niittymaki was playing, Colorado needed a lucky bounce.

The Tampa Bay goalie was close to his first shutout of the season

when Wolski tied it.

“You knew they were going to come, we just didn’t have an

answer for them,” Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. “Actually,

we had one answer – Niittymaki. That was our only answer.”

Niittymaki had 18 saves in the third period alone.

“We just sat back in the third period and let them con in our

zone,” forward Alex Tanguay said. “We were making stupid mistakes

and not playing good.”

Wolski’s goal would have been cosmetic if Tampa Bay scored on

its best chance of second period. The Lightning had an odd-man rush

late in the frame, but Anderson made a save on Vincent Lecavalier

to keep Colorado within a goal.

“I thought when (Lowrie) passed it to me there was an opening

on the low blocker but that wasn’t the shot that came out,”

Lecavalier said. “I was going low blocker and it ended it up on

his blocker.”

Anderson, playing for the first time since suffering a neck

injury against Florida on Dec. 2, faced only five shots in the

third period and overtime.

“Sometimes the toughest job is when you don’t see a lot of

shots,” he said.

The Lightning scored first when the Avalanche couldn’t control

two rebounds. Anderson saved shots by Martin St. Louis and

Lecavalier, but the second rebound came out to Downie, who wristed

a shot into the open net with 7:48 left in the first period for his

sixth goal of the season.

The Avalanche had a chance to tie with a power play late in the

period but couldn’t capitalize on the man advantage.

Both teams had several good chances to score in the second

period. Colorado nearly tied it midway through the second period on

a shot by Stastny, but Niittymaki got his shoulder on the puck.

The Avalanche continued to put pressure on the Lightning but

couldn’t get the equalizer.

Tampa Bay took consecutive minors early in the third period,

giving Colorado two power-play opportunities. Although they had six

shots on goal with the man advantage the Avalanche couldn’t cash


NOTES: Niittymaki was briefly attended to late in the first

period after stopping a shot by Ryan O’Reilly. Niittymaki stayed in

the game. … Colorado went more than 154 minutes between goals at

home, a span of three games. … The Avalanche have not allowed a

power-play goal in their last four games, killing of 10 penalties.

… Colorado is 3-5 in shootouts and Tampa Bay is 1-6.