The Tampa Bay Lightning are back in familiar territory.
They are trailing in a series 1-0 after a slow start and a third period in game one in which the Avalanche controlled the tempo.
The Lightning did some good things in that first game, but if you watched the same game I did, the Colorado Avalanche were the better team on Wednesday night.
What is encouraging for Lightning fans is that the Bolts did not come close to playing their best game and still had a chance to win it in overtime.
In their previous playoff series, the Lightning fell behind 1-0 against Toronto and trailed the New York Rangers 2-0 before coming back to win both series.
After a lousy showing in game one in both of those series, the Lightning got better as the series went along, made the adjustments, and showed that championship pedigree in coming back to win both series, including a tough game seven win on the road in Toronto.
Victor Hedman talked with reporters after practice in Denver on Friday afternoon and spoke about the team’s adjustments after the first game in each series.
“After Game 1, you get a better read, a better understanding of the opponent, It’s one thing to see on video, but it’s one thing to be in the game too. A few tweaks here and there, but nothing major. We know what they’re doing, but obviously seeing their tendencies more up close, that’s what we were working on in video today and on the ice.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy looked like your average goaltender, as he allowed three goals in the first period as the Avalanche took a 3-1 lead.
However, from the second period on, he played like the Vasi we have seen in the postseason. The Lightning will need another big performance from Vasileviskiy to avoid going down 0-2 in the series.
Jon Cooper talked about the ability of Vasileviskiy to make adjustments after game one. “Once he’s got a feel for the team, and it’s usually only taken him a game, he’s been outstanding. Vasy just dials himself in. He had a little bit of break. Now he’s got a feel for the way they play, the speed they play with, where they shoot from, all those things.
“That’s what great goalies do. They can figure out teams, too, just like coaches try to figure teams out. Goalies can do the exact same thing. I think that’s why you see an elite goalie get better as the series goes on, because he educates himself just as much as coaches trying to educate the team.”
It’s essential that the Lightning win game two on the road. Not only would a win tie the series up at a game apiece, but it also would tip the home-ice advantage back in the Lightning’s favor.
The most important factor for a Lightning win in game two will be to get more pucks on the net against Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper.
The Lightning did not put enough pressure on Kuemper in game one and will need to get more pucks on net in game two.
The Lightning also worked on their breakouts which they did not do well in game one.
After game two Saturday night in Denver, the series will resume its every other day scheduling with games three and four in Tampa on Monday and Wednesday.