Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread
Let’s enjoy two quality teams playing the sport of hockey!
Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #51
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN, TVAS, SN360, SNE, SNO
Opponent SBNation Site: Mile High Hockey
DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6
With losses in their last two games, the Tampa Bay Lightning finish up their brief two-game home stand on a winning note against the defending Stanley Cup Champions - the Colorado Avalanche. Yes, let’s get it out of the way, the last time the Avalanche were in this building they were raising the Cup, having defeated the Bolts 2-1 on Artturi Lehkonen’s goal midway through the second period in Game Six.
So, yes, the Lightning should have a little extra motivation to play well tonight. Also, it’s a nationally televised game (ESPN) so the whole world is watching! Well, based on the recent ratings report, maybe not the whole world, but a few more eyes outside of the respective markets will be on the game.
As nice as it would be to win and beat the team that denied the three-peat, the Lightning are more focused on putting together a solid 60-minute effort. Process over results. There were signs of it in the game against the San Jose Sharks where the Lightning played really well at 5v5 for most of the night. Which was nice since it was all but absent against the Panthers in their previous outing.
The Bolts have a pretty tough stretch starting tonight with Colorado. They then head on the road to take on Dallas (1st in the Central Division), Colorado again, in Arizona the next night, and then in Vegas (1st in the Pacific Division) before getting a couple of nights off and starting another short home stand. While this stretch won’t make or break their season, it will be a good test to see where they stand with 30 games to go, and could make the final determination for general manager Julien BriseBois on what he needs to do at the trade deadline.
As the Lighting had an off day yesterday we did not know the status of Nick Paul following his early exit from the game against the Sharks. However, he was on the ice for the morning skate today along with everyone else, so that bodes well for his return to action tonight.
While the Avalanche are, like the Lightning, in third place in their division, it’s been a physically tough title defense for them this season. They are currently without Gabriel Landeskog who is out for another month with a knee injury and Josh Manson, who is dealing with a lower-body injury. However, throughout the year just about everyone from Nathan MacKinnon to Valeri Nichushkin to Pavel Francouz has missed at least a few games with injuries that have run the entire spectrum.
Speaking of injuries, Cale Makar took a questionable hit (in the league’s view, a perfectly legal collision) in their last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and may be questionable for tonight’s game:
Cale Makar to the locker room after this hit from Jeff Carter pic.twitter.com/ed0Yj53GZb— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 8, 2023
Following the All-Star Break they did get a few healthy bodies back as Bowen Byram came back from a three-month injury and Nichushkin returned as well. So the Lightning aren’t catching them at their weakest point unfortunately.
So buckle in, it should be a fun contest tonight between two teams that aren’t quite playing at the level they want to be and need to show their coaches that they can rise to the occasion against quality competition.
Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Comparison
|Game #51||Tampa Bay Lightning||Colorado Avalanche|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Nick Paul (?) - Pat Maroon
Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Colorado Avalanche Potential Lines
Artturi Lehkonen - Nathan MacKinnon - Valeri Nichushkin
Evan Rodrigues - JT Compher - Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto - Alex Newhook - Dennis Malgin
Andrew Cogliano - Logan O’Connor
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Bowen Byram - Sam Girard
Brad Hunt - Erik Johnson