Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, ALT
Opponent SBNation Site: Mile High Hockey
Tonight will be the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first game back at Amalie Arena since opening night over two weeks ago. They wrapped up a six-game road trip in Boston with an encouraging victory over their Atlantic Division rivals, and on a positive note after a demoralizing loss to Carolina and a lacklustre performance against Ottawa earlier in the trip. It’s been an up-and-down start to the season for the Lightning, and they’re undoubtedly glad to be home.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche are still undefeated in regulation. They remain the only team in the NHL with a donut in the “loss” column. Last night’s gutsy win over the Florida Panthers saw them climb back from 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 deficits in regulation before Nathan MacKinnon (who was a game-time decision) won the game for them in overtime. The Avalanche enter tonight’s game a confident and resilient team.
Mackinnon (four goals, six assists) extended his season point streak to seven games (Mikko Rantanen had his streak snapped at six last night). He missed Friday’s morning skate with a leg issue, but appeared no worse for the wear during the game and should be playing again tonight. There are otherwise no significant injuries on Colorado’s roster, but there’s a chance one of Valeri Nichushkin or Vladislav Kamenev could draw back into the lineup as the Avs are playing a back-to-back.
As far as the Lightning go, we should expect the same roster that was deployed against Boston on Thursday. Cedric Paquette has continued to practice with the team, but we probably won’t see him back just yet. However, their penalty kill (26th in the league) has been their Achilles heel to start the season (and it nearly cost them against Boston as all three of the Bruins goals were scored on the powerplay). With all of the offensive weapons Colorado can unleash on their man-advantage, their shorthanded play is something the Lightning need to prepare for and be better at.
Colorado will start Pavel Francouz, which could be good for Tampa Bay. The Avalanche haven’t allowed a lot of goals to start the season, but the Lightning could take advantage of playing a tired team starting their backup goaltender. Tampa Bay’s possession numbers are concerning (they sit third-last in the league), and they’re also allowing a lot of shots, but hopefully they can get off to a good start tonight and won’t let their foot off of the gas.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Yanni Gourde
Patrick Maroon - Carter Verhaeghe - Luke Witkowski
Injured: Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Shattenkirk
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Scratched: Jan Rutta
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Colin Wilson - Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher
Matt Calvert - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Matt Nieto
Scratched: Vladislav Kamenev, Valeri Nichushkin
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Cale Makar
Ian Cole - Ryan Graves
Scratched: Mark Barberio