Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche Preview and Game Day Thread
Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche: GAME #53
Time: 9:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Ball Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, ALT, TVAS, SN
Opponent SBNation Site: Mile High Hockey
Didn’t we just do this? Less than a week ago these two teams matched up in Tampa with the Lightning taking the game, 5-0. Since then both teams have won, Tampa Bay took down Dallas while the Avalanche ended their three-game road trip with a win over the Panthers in Sunrise. Not much has really changed since the last time we wrote a preview other than the fact that Colorado had a few more player banged up that will miss tonight’s action.
According to the beat reporters on the scene in Colorado goaltender Pavel Francouz along with defensemen Erik Johnson, Cale Makar, and Josh Manson are likely out for the game. That was following yesterday’s practice so there might be a chance that Manson draws into the line-up, but as of now the Avs are struggling to field a healthy rotation on defense.
That matters not to the Lightning, who are at the other end of the injury spectrum for right now. It appears that Nick Paul might be ready to go after missing the last few games. If he is, expect the Bolts to go back to their 12-6 configuration after rolling with 7 defensemen in their last two wins.
Tampa Bay started their road trip off on the right foot, defeating the Dallas Stars, 3-1, on a late goal by Anthony Cirelli. It was a tough, tight game all day long that featured some excellent goaltending on both ends and consistent pressure from the two offenses. There was an underlying feeling of playoff tension throughout the game and it was a good sign that the Lightning responded with one of their best all-around efforts of the year.
Following their listless post-All-Star break loss to the Florida Panthers and their 40-minute effort against the San Jose Sharks, the Lightning rebounded with two solid games. One of the most notable aspect of their wins over the Avs and the Stars is that they seemed engaged from the opening drop of the puck all the way through till the final horn, something that hasn’t been the case at times this season.
With thirty games to go it’s a good sign that they are finding their rhythm and morphing into the type of team that will be tough to knock out in the playoffs. A win tonight will draw them level in points with the idle Toronto Maple Leafs (and technically ahead of them in the standings due to their points percentage and ROW). It’s still a little early to be looking at playoff seeding, but home ice might be a little more important this year than it has been in the past. Winning the games they have in hand against the Leafs will go a long way to seeing that the playoffs kick off in Tampa instead of Toronto.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche
|Game #53||Tampa Bay Lightning||Colorado Avalanche|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Pat Maroon
Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Ian Cole - Nick Perbix
Colorado Avalanche Potential Lines
Artturi Lehkonen - Nathan MacKinnon - Valeri Nichushkin
Evan Rodrigues - JT Compher - Mikko Rantanen
Andrew Cogliano - Alex Newhook - Logan O’Connor
Matt Nieto - Ben Myers - Denis Malgin
Sam Girard - Devon Toews
Bowen Byram - ??
Kurtis Macdermid - Andreas Englund