Quick Goals Got Avs Back Into Game vs. Bolts
Colorado made it an interesting third period after scoring twice late in the second
And just like that the Colorado Avalanche was back into the game.
Down 3-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the second period, the Avs grabbed some momentum going into the final period as they scored two goals in 30 seconds and nearly had another before the second intermission.
John Mitchell got the first goal after he tipped in Gabriel Landeskog's slap shot from the point at 18:33. Tyson Barrie then made it a 3-2 game after he picked up a loose puck in the slot and roofed a wrist shot past Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop and into the top of the cage at 19:03.
"Anytime you get down like that you want to finish the period strong and have a little momentum, and it sure worked out for us," Mitchell said of the Avs' late rush.
Barrie also picked up an assist on Mitchell's tally and got credit for two points on one shift, as he never left the ice after the first goal.
The Avalanche had a chance to tie the game and complete a quick comeback before the final buzzer of the second period. Matt Duchene attacked the net with 12 seconds remaining and fired a shot that Bishop just got enough of his pad on to deflect it wide.
However, the Avalanche was unable to use the momentum to get the tying goal in the third period, and Tampa Bay rookie Tyler Johnson scored twice in the final six minutes to secure a 5-2 win for the Lightning.
"Down 3-0, we could have given up, but our guys kept working hard and came back at the end to make it two goals inside of 35 seconds and put it at a 3-2 game," Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said after the contest.
Still, the two-goal sequence was one of the fastest by the Avs this season. The fastest two goals scored by the Colorado this year was in 12 seconds on Dec. 13 at San Jose, with Erik Johnson and Jamie McGinn each tallying with less than two minutes to play in that game.
TANGUAY GETS NIGHT OFF, MITCHELL HEALTHY
Alex Tanguay made his return to the Avalanche Friday night against Florida after missing 36 games with a knee and hips injuries, but he wasn't in the lineup Saturday versus Tampa Bay.
Tanguay being scratched on Saturday had already been prescheduled, as Roy didn't want to overwork him too much early on in his return.
"We wanted to use Tanguay for only one of the two (back-to-back) games," Roy said after morning skate. "We were hoping to use him in Florida and then give him two days off before playing his next game. I thought that was the perfect scenario. That was our plan and we're going to stick to the plan."
Mitchell missed Friday's game against the Panthers because of an illness, but he met the team in Tampa for Saturday's contest. Mitchell played 17:25 and scored the Avs' first goal.
Defenseman Nate Guenin played in his first game in three weeks on Saturday after being out with an ankle injury.
"I feel really good," said Guenin, who missed nine games after suffering the injury Jan. 4 versus San Jose. "I got to have some good skates with [assistant coach] Tim Army after practice and [strength and conditioning coach] Casey [Bond] did a good job of keeping me in condition while I was out. So far so good."
Guenin had to spend most of his rehab time off the ice as the injury was a bruised bone, and he couldn't do much physical activity with his feet.
"I couldn't get my skate on for like two weeks," Guenin said. "Once I was able to get my skate on, we were able to get to work. That was the most frustrating part, just not being able to put any weight on it or put it into a boot."
He played 22 shifts and had 16:53 of ice time against the Lightning.