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Lightning vs. Avalanche: Projected lines, injuries and storylines

Tampa Bay looks to stay perfect in December when they host the Colorado Avalanche

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning can push their winning streak to three games with a victory over the Avalanche. Tampa Bay has been rolling so far on this homestand with lopsided victories over the Sharks and Islanders. Colorado is beginning a four-game east coast road trip, looking to end a three-game skid. 

Lines from Thursday's morning skate. Subject to change.

Forwards

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Yanni Gourde - Cory Conacher

Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Defensemen

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr

Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman

Slater Koekkoek - Dan Girardi

Jamie McBain

Goaltenders

 Peter Budaj expected to start 

Thursday's Matchups
The Lightning and the Avalanche are playing their first of two meetings this season and the only meeting at AMALIE Arena...The two teams will complete their two-game season series in nine days at Colorado (Dec. 16)...Ttampa Bay and Colorado split the season series in 2016-17, each team winning on the road...The Lightning earned a 3-2 overtime victory at the Pepsi Center in their last meeting (Feb. 19, 2017), former Bolt Jonathan Drouin netting the game-winner...Colorado earned a 4-0 shutout win in its last visit to AMALIE Arena (Oct. 20, 2016), one of six times the Lightning were shutout last season...The Bolts have lost two in a row at AMALIE Arena to Colorado but had won three straight at home over the Avs prior...All-time, the Lightning are 11-6-2 with one tie at home vs. Colorado... Chris Kunitz is on a four-game point streak against Colorado (2 goals, 2 assists).

Thursday's Storylines
The Lightning pace the NHL for wins (19), points (40), ROW (18), points percentage (.741), goals (100), goals per game (3.7) and goal differential (+32)...Tampa Bay is off to its best start in franchise history with 40 points through 27 games, one point better than the 39 points put up by the 2014-15 team (18-6-3) through 27 games...The Bolts' 100 goals are the most in team history through 27 games (previous high: 96 in 2014-15)...Tampa Bay leads the NHL for goals per game (3.7) and ranks fourth for goals against per game (2.51) and is the only League team in the top seven in both categories...The Lightning are 15-2-2 in their last 19 games at AMALIE Arena.

Injuries
2017-18 Regular Season Man Games Lost: 27
Current injuries
Braydon Coburn - Lower body (DAY-TO-DAY) 2 Games
Jake Dotchin - Undisclosed (DAY-TO-DAY) 7 Games

Transactions
Dec. 4 - Recalled D Jamie McBain from AHL Syracuse
Dec. 3 - Re-assigned D Jamie McBain to AHL Syracuse
Dec. 2 - Recalled D Jamie McBain from AHL Syracuse
Dec. 2 - Recalled F Cory Conacher from AHL Syracuse

In the Nik of Time
Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov recorded two assists Dec. 5 vs. NYI to extend his point streak to four games (2 goals, 4 assists)...Kucherov has points in 22 of 27 games and has put up two-straight multi-point performances and 14 multi-point performances total this season...Kucherov became the first NHL player to reach the 40-point mark on Tuesday and is the third player in Lightning franchise history to reach the 40-point mark by game No. 27.

Kucherov owns a share of the longest point streak in the NHL this season (12-7--19 over 11 games from Oct. 6-26) along with teammate Steven Stamkos (4-17--21 over 11 games from Oct. 6-26)...Kucherov leads the NHL for scoring.

Kucherov owns the longest goal streak in the NHL this season, scoring in seven-straight games (8 goals total) to start the season (Oct. 6-17)...Kucherov's 19 goals are the fourth most through the first 27 team games in Lightning history, trailing only Steven Stamkos (21) in 2010-11, Chris Kontos (20) in 1992-93 and Steven Stamkos (20) in 2012-13...Kucherov ranks second in the NHL for goals.

Over the last two seasons, Kucherov leads the NHL for goals and ranks second for scoring with 125 points (first: EDM's Connor McDavid - 132).

Good Gourde
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner on a second period power play, for his second multigoal game of the season and third of his career...Gourde ranks tied for seventh among NHL rookies for goals and tied for ninth for scoring (8-10--18)...Gourde is second among NHL rookies for plus/minus (+12) and tied for eighth overall in the League.

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