The Tampa Bay Lightning have earned at least one point in four of their six games with Rick Tocchet as coach, but are still looking to provide his first win on the road.
The Lightning hope to do that while trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss as they continue their stretch of three straight road games Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
Tampa Bay (6-9-7) lost 4-2 at Minnesota on Friday to open its road swing to fall to 1-2-3 since Tocchet replaced the fired Barry Melrose on Nov. 14.
"It seems like we're waiting for something bad to happen, instead of sticking to what we're trying to do," said Tocchet, whose team blew a 2-1 lead by allowing three third-period goals. "A couple of guys had the 'deer in the headlights' look. We've got to keep attacking."
Now, the Lightning head to Colorado where they have one victory in their last six visits dating to the 1998-99 season.
Malone continues to be aggressive on the offensive end with three of his six goals coming in his last three games and six points in the last four contests.
"I got a goal, but it doesn't matter because we lost," Malone said.
While Vrbata scored for the second time in three contests, Lecavalier has at least one point in his last six with three goals and four assists during that span. Lecavalier has two goals and three assists in his last four games against Colorado.
Mike Smith had 29 saves Friday to fall to 5-5-6, but could be back in net for this contest despite the back-to-back scenario. Smith is 3-0-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average versus the Avalanche.
Colorado won 3-0 on Jan. 15 at Tampa in the last meeting between the teams. Paul Stastny had a goal with an assist in that contest, but the Avalanche's leading scorer was held without a point for a third consecutive game in Colorado's 2-1 loss at Phoenix on Friday.
The Avalanche (10-12-0) have lost four of their last six, combining for three goals in those defeats compared to seven in the victories during that span.
Despite Friday's loss, Colorado coach Tony Granato remains optimistic that wins will come more consistently.
"If we continue to play with that effort and that intensity, the majority of the time we're going to come away with a win," said Granato, whose team has won two of three at home after losing three in a row there.
Ryan Smyth scored for the third time in 16 games for Colorado, but has nine points in his last eight versus Tampa Bay.
The Avalanche could be without star Joe Sakic after he was limited to one shift Friday because of lingering back troubles.
"We thought we were going to have him in there," said Granato of the 39-year-old Sakic, who has 12 points this season, but has played in two of the team's last nine games. "To have him just a shift changes your whole dynamic of what you're going to do."
Peter Budaj made 18 saves, but fell to 8-11-0. Budaj could give way to backup Andrew Raycroft, who is 7-1-0 with a tie and a 2.41 GAA against Tampa Bay.
Raycroft hasn't started since Oct. 30, but relieved Budaj in a 4-1 loss at Anaheim on Monday.
|M. St. Louis||23||5||12||17||+2||2||1||0|