Happy Anniversary from, Colorado

By on October 20, 2016

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa, Fla. —  A night that started with fanfare for the home team ended with a dud. Tonight marked the 20th anniversary of the first NHL hockey game ever played at Amalie Arena (originally known as the Ice Palace.)  The Lightning beat the NY Rangers on October 20th, 1996 5-3 with Lightning goals by Brian Bradley, Dino Ciccarelli, Chris Gratton, Roman Hamrlik and Alex Selivanov.   Five goals for the home team that night.  That is exactly how many the Lightning needed to beat the Colorado Avalanche here 20 years later.  But the Lightning would get none.

The Lighting looked tonight to make it 4-0 for the season, their last home game for the month of October and after tonight they will take the show on the road for the next 6 games to the Great White North and the New York Metro area.

Interesting start to the game as Anton Stralman took a hit to the ribs, and shortly after a familiar foe Jarome Iginla attempted to bait Andrej Sustr into a fight. Before the three minute mark of the first period,#11 Brian Boyle and Avalanche #55 McCloud each receive matching five minute fighting penalties.  The anniversary party was started.

At 2:38,  Avalanche #25 Mikhail Grigorenko took a two minute minor for tripping, giving the Bolts the first power play. Kucherov managed to ring one off the post, but no goal. #51 Valterri Fillpula would return the favor to the Avalanche at 4:43 he received a two minute minor for hooking giving Colorado their first man advantage.

A pretty fun and eventful first period for the fans, the Avalanche wanted to make sure this was a chippy game.

Colorado managed to score the first goal at 19:35 #9 Matt Duchene persisted to notch his first goal and point of the season, with the assist to #29 Nathan MacKinnon. It was MacKinnon’s 5th point of the season.  Duchene got behind Steve Stamkos as he misplayed the puck.  #30 Ben Bishop the Lightning goalie made the first save but Duchene flipped his own rebound up and over the down and out Bishop.

First period ended the score Colorado 1, Tampa Bay 0.

Colorado notched their second goal to bring the Lightning to that familiar trailing score of 2-0. #9 Matt Duchene scored his second goal of the game with a beautiful  deflection off the shaft, assists from #28 Patrick Wiercioch and #25 Mikhail Grigorenko.

The Bolts would head to the locker room down 2-0 and find some way to get in the middle and crash the net. Something to score a goal.

At this point in the game, five minutes into the 3rd period I’m thinking to myself these guys (the Lightning) have got to find a way to get in front of the net , create some traffic. Colorado was playing some tough defense and Semyon Varlamov was seeing the puck well.

Stamkos and Sustr managed to get one past Varlamov at about the six minute mark of the 3rd, but it was waived off due to the Bolts being off sides, so the goal horn sounded to no avail!

The Lightning were definitely applying the pressure, the shot count was lopsided at Bolts 23, Avalanche 14. Wow, is all I could say when Ben Bishop stepped out of the crease to retrieve a puck that never made it around the boards, but into his net! The Avalanche now moved ahead 3-0. Some very sloppy goaltending. The goal was scored by #27 Andreas Martinsen his first of the season, the assist to #8 Joe Colborne and #28 Patrick Wierioch. Wow, the air had left the building at this point. Bad goaltending has a tendency to quiet the crowd and plus the visitors lead getting pushed from two to three aided the deflation.

A goal lead going into the third, the Lightning on the their heels, this did not look like it was going to be a happy anniversary.  The Avalanche continued to stymie the Lightning attack and to make it worse, at 12:22 #34 Carl Soderberg scores his second of the season to push the lead to 4-0.

The Western Conference Colorado gang closes the party with a 4-0 victory.  Matt Duchene was the major party pooper with 2 goals and 1 assist that earned him the #1 star.

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