Tampa Bay at Colorado
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Sunday, February 19, 2017
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to extend their season-high point streak to six games, but they sorely need two instead of one when they visit the league-worst Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. The Lightning coughed up a pair of leads before losing 4-3 in overtime at Dallas on Saturday and are 3-0-2 in their last five contests as they attempt to stay in the race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Defenseman Victor Hedman registered two goals and an assist in the loss to raise his total to five points in the last two games for Tampa Bay, which is six points out of the second wild-card spot in the East. The Avalanche return home after salvaging the finale of their 1-4-0 road trip, posting a 2-1 victory at Carolina on Friday as Mikko Rantanen scored late in overtime. Colorado is the only team in the league scoring under two goals per game (1.98) and is last in goals-against average (3.32) but 6-1 in games ending in OT. “We’ve got some really fast players with a lot of skill,” Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard told reporters. “I feel confident going out there in overtime that we’re going to get it done.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), Altitude (Colorado)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (25-24-8): Tyler Johnson, who missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup and notched a goal and an assist against Dallas. Nikita Kucherov, who leads the team with 21 goals and 49 points, was kept off the scoresheet for a third consecutive game on Saturday. Andrei Vasilevskiy got the start in net versus the Stars following the team’s “bye week” and Ben Bishop is likely to get the call Sunday after allowing a total of three goals in winning his last three outings.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (16-38-2): Rantanen, the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft, is beginning to show why he is untouchable as the trade deadline approaches. The 20-year-old Finn is third on the team with 27 points - behind Nathan MacKinnon (38) and Matt Duchene (34) - after posting six goals and three assists over his last 11 contests. MacKinnon has gone four games without a point and Duchene hasn't scored a goal in 13 contests while offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie (24 points) tallied for the first time in 11 games on Friday.
1. The Avalanche rolled at Tampa Bay 4-0 on Oct. 20 during their 3-1-0 start to the season, receiving two goals and an assist from Duchene, and is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
2. Tampa Bay D Jake Dotchin recorded his third point in his 10th NHL game Saturday and has posted a plus-4 rating while being paired primarily with Hedman.
3. Colorado D Mark Barberio, who started his career with the Lightning, has recorded a goal and two assists in eight games since being claimed off waivers from Montreal.
PREDICTION: Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Stats and Records