Avs at Bolts: Game 31
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, Alti
Opponent SBNation Site: Mile High Hockey
Tonight at Amalie, the Colorado Avalanche are in town to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game will feature the top three scorers in the league and four of the top six. Mikko Rantanen leads the NHL in points. Nathan MacKinnon is second. Nikita Kucherov is third. And Brayden Point is sixth. That’s a lot of firepower.
The Avs have been hot lately, winning eight of their last ten and only failing to get a point in one of those games. That run has pushed them up to second in the Central Division behind the Nasvhille Predators.
They’ve probably gotten a bit better results than they deserve during so far this season. They’re still among the bottom third of the league in expected goal share and much of their success this season has been due to shooting and goaltending.
But their top line alone could be enough to keep them competitive this season. MacKinnon and Rantanen are joined by Gabriel Landeskog forming one of the best lines in the NHL. They don’t control shot and expected goal share the way some of the other top lines do but they score so frequently that they overcome the lack of territorial dominance.
The Lightning enter the game still without Andrei Vasilevskiy and Antron Stralman. Adam Erne looks to be a healthy scratch for the foreseeable future. Even without Vasilevskiy, the Lightning have managed to put together some impressive results. Like Colorado, they’ve also won eight of their last ten. They enter the day with the most standings points of any team in the NHL.
Most nights, Colorado has the best line on the ice. The Lightning are one of the few teams that can challenge them. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Tyler Johnson present a similar challenge in terms of dominant scoring and a better group in terms of controlling shot and expected goal share.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan Mcdonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Colin Wilson
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert
Vladislav Kamenev - Alexander Kerfoot - Gabriel Bourque
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth