Late Bolts Effort Comes Up Short
By Erik Erlendsson | Tribune StaffDENVER - Tampa Bay proved the age-old theory that 20 minutes of stellar play can't offset 40 minutes of a subpar play.
Published: November 30, 2008
Published: November 30, 2008
The Lightning snoozed through the first two periods Saturday against Colorado to dig themselves into a hole they couldn't climb out of in a 4-3 loss at the Pepsi Center.
And Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said enough is enough with some players not being prepared to start the game.
"This is a business now and I think our patience is running thin on some people," he said. "And this is a team we faced tonight, and no disrespect to them, but I think we had the stronger lineup and we had about five or six guys lay eggs and it's not good enough. It's a result-oriented business and they're not getting the job done."
Tocchet didn't say it would result in a roster shakeup, but he said some guys are going to have to wake up.
"Life is going to get miserable around here because as a coaching staff, after the first period we were kind of shaking our head," he said. "They were prepared, they knew exactly what we want, but there are just some individuals who every loose puck they lose and they don't go to the front of the net. It's almost like some guys are collecting a paycheck right now and that's a sad statement."
It all unraveled quickly in the final five minutes of the first period as Colorado scored three times in a span of 3:37, chasing Olie Kolzig after the opening 20 minutes.
Wojtek Wolski, who had one goal in his previous 20 games, netted a pair in the opening period, while Marek Svatos picked up assists on all three Colorado goals after coming into the game without a point in five games and only four assists on the season.
Svatos set up Jordan Leopold for a power-play goal at 15:20. Then at the 17:21 mark, Svatos swatted a loose puck from the slot on goal and Wolski beat Steve Eminger to the front of the net to knock the rebound in. Ninety-six seconds later, Svatos beat Andrew Hutchinson on a drive to the net with Wolski picking up the puck at the side of the net and putting it behind Kolzig.
Kolzig was pulled after the first period, having allowed three goals on 10 shots to continue a string of recent subpar performances, including being yanked in his past two starts. In his past four games, Kolzig has allowed 16 goals on 107 shots, an .850 save percentage, with a 5.65 goals-against average. For the season the 37-year-old is 1-4-1 with a 4.11 goals-against average and an .887 save percentage.
Mike Smith came into the game and helped calm things down, stopping all 12 shots he faced in the second period. His play helped keep Tampa Bay in the game when Vinny Lecavalier cut the lead to 3-1 at the 12:17 mark of the second on one of the Lightning's four shots in the period.
The Avs increased the lead to 4-1 in the third as David Jones took advantage of a Smith turnover when his clearing pass was disrupted by Cody McLeod. Jones collected the loose puck and deked to his backhand for his second goal of the season at 3:42.
Ryan Malone scored at the 9:19 mark of the third to up his goal-scoring streak to a career-best four games. Steven Stamkos scored his first goal since Oct. 30 to make it close.
"We were flat to start and it's embarrassing," Smith said. "I don't think there's been more than one game this season in which we've shown up for all 60 minutes and that's mental and that's the frustrating part about it. You look around the room and we are a good team, but you are only as good as you are on the ice so until we start proving it on the ice, we won't be a good team."
Reporter Erik Erlendsson can be reached at (813) 259-7835.