DENVER — Mikko Rantanen was adamant following Tuesday’s morning skate that the Avalanche would bounce back against Tampa Bay. Their shutout loss in the first meeting between the two Stanley Cup finalists a season ago was the worst loss Colorado had endured in over a month.

In the rematch at Ball Arena, the Avs put on a much better showing, peppering goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy with 46 shots, but suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Lightning in an entertaining back-and-forth.

“I thought it was a relatively even played hockey game,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Both teams generated some good chances.”

The Avs scored the first two and were able to add a third goal after Tampa Bay clawed back. The teams went on to play a dull five-minute overtime period before Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored the lone goal in the shootout.

“We get on the board a couple of times, we capitalized on a few of our chances, they missed on a few of theirs and then that kind of changes a little later on in the game,” Bednar said.

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Despite the loss, Colorado (28-19-5, 61 points) gained a point in the standings and climbed back into third in the Central Division. The Avs are tied with the Minnesota Wild but have a game in hand. They have a chance to jump ahead if they can defeat the Wild on the road Wednesday. But it won’t be easy for the Avs, who will play two games in two nights against a rested Minnesota team.

Colorado has three consecutive sets of back-to-backs, all of which end with a game against a rested team.

“I hate it,” Bednar said of the scheduling. “Every back to back the team’s waiting on us rested. I find it odd that that’s the best scheduling we come up with. We’re gonna go to Minny now and they’re sitting there waiting on us.”

Artturi Lehkonen, Nathan MacKinnon and Denis Malgin scored for the Avalanche. Lehkonen opened the scoring just 50 seconds in, getting one past Vasilevskiy before he had a chance to settle into another perfect performance similar to last week’s 30-save shutout in the first meeting between the two clubs at Amalie Arena.

Vasilevskiy faced 17 and 16 shots, respectively, in the first two periods, but gave up just a single goal in each. He made a number of big saves, most notably a deflection toe save on Lehkonen while Colorado was on the power play to stop the Avs from building on their lead. That save, among others, helped keep the game within reach, which led to goals from Nikita Kucherov in the second and an early third-period tally from Anthony Cirelli that tied it up at 2-2. Tampa Bay added another from Namestnikov after Malgin buried his first goal in an Avalanche uniform.

It was a costly turnover from defenseman Kurtis MacDermid that led to the goal that made it 3-3.

“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Avs defenseman Bowen Byram said. “I mean a couple of little mistakes that ended up costing us the extra point.”

The Avs had their foot on the pedal from the opening draw. MacKinnon fed the puck to Lehkonen, who found a lane to the goal and fired it home with linemate Valeri Nichushkin screening Vasilevskiy. The goal was followed up by two successful penalty kills.

In the second period, Byram sent the puck to MacKinnon for a tap-in goal from the blue paint. MacKinnon was in behind Vasilevskiy, who was challenging Byram to shoot near the right circle.

Neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage throughout the evening. Colorado was 0-for-3 but killed off all four Tampa Bay power plays, including a late opportunity with just over seven minutes remaining.

After that kill, both teams exchanged chances for the final five minutes of regulation in arguably the most entertaining stretch of hockey the fans in Denver have been treated to all season.

Georgiev stood tall for Colorado, stopping 32 shots as the Avs outshot the Lightning 46-35. Bednar all but confirmed that Georgiev will get the nod in the crucial battle in Minnesota on Wednesday despite the back-to-back. The Avs are without backup goalie Pavel Francouz for the foreseeable future.