The Colorado Avalanche hosted the NHL’s best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Saturday night at Pepsi Center and lost in a high-scoring 6-5 thriller.

A Gabe Landeskog hat trick and two goals from Nathan MacKinnon helped Colorado make a late third-period push where the Avalanche scored four times, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome the four-minute-and-ten-second window in the second period where the Lightning put four goals of their own past Avs goalie Johnathan Bernier.

“All of a sudden in the third, we get down, and we start playing hard, we start winning battles and start doing the little things right, we get rewarded for it,” Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog said. “We just got to keep in mind that, if we are the aggressors, we play hard and bring it to the other team, we can do some damage.”

The first period featured a lot of back-and-forth play from both sides, however, the two squads ended the period at a 0-0 draw.

Midway through the second period, 9:11 in, to be precise, during a two-minute four-on-four, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov scored his NHL-leading 23rd goal of the season. Following came a bombardment of goals from the Lightning that seemingly had the Avalanche in over their heads. By 13:21 into the period the Avalanche were down 4-0.

Gabe Landeskog would close the scoring for the second period at 5:44 remaining, breathing some life into the home team as they headed to the dressing room down 4-1 ahead of the third period.

Tampa Bay scored first in the third period, but then Landeskog proceeded to score the next two goals for Colorado, then tallied two assists on each of Nathan MacKinnon’s goals that came later in the third period. The 25-year-old captain almost scored a fourth goal in the final minutes of the game to tie, but his strong effort from the slot was robbed by Tampa Bay’s Peter Budaj who was in net in each of the Lightning’s victories over Colorado this season.

“I think it’s something that, when everything is said and done, maybe at the end of the season or at the end of your career, you sit down and maybe that was a cool night and it was a lot of fun,” Landeskog said about his first career five-point night. “It would have been even better if I put that last one in too. That would have made it a good night.”

Nathan MacKinnon had a multi-point night himself that was somewhat overshadowed by Landeskog’s hat trick and the loss, but he continued his dominant play as of late with two goals and an assist, putting him at a total of 38 points thus far (15 goals, 23 assists).

The Avalanche move on with their difficult month of December on Monday, the 18th when they will host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Avalanche look to repeat last week’s result when they bested the Penguins by the score of 2-1 in Pittsburgh. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM MST.