Lightning lament Game 1 showing: 'The right team won'
The Tampa Bay Lightning don't believe they brought their A-game to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The back-to-back defending champions fell 4-3 in overtime to the Colorado Avalanche and tipped their caps to their opponent after a loss that was more lopsided than the final score made it appear.
"There's some positive signs for us in this game, but the right team won the game," head coach Jon Cooper said, according to NHL.com's Chris Krenn.
"Give them credit for pulling it out. We've got better in us, though. I don't think, by a country mile, we gave them our best game and we still had a chance to pull it out."
The Avalanche, who hadn't played since June 6 after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers, came out firing in their first final appearance since 2001. Colorado led 2-0 in the first 10 minutes and carried play for much of the contest before Andre Burakovsky buried the overtime winner.
At five-on-five, the Avalanche outshot the Lightning 32-18 while owning 56.36% of shot attempts, 59.52% of scoring chances, and 71.24% expected goals, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Tampa's loss on Wednesday continued a bizarre trend for Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. In Game 1s this postseason, the superstar netminder is 1-3 with a .884 save percentage and 3.99 goals against average. Aside from series openers, Vasilevskiy is 11-3 with a .939 clip and 1.90 goals against average.
The Lightning have shrugged off series deficits numerous times this spring. Tampa Bay trailed three times in the opening round against the Toronto Maple Leafs and went down 2-0 to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.
Game 2 is set for Saturday night in Denver.