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Avs continue Southeast trip at Tampa Bay

by John Kreiser /

AVALANCHE (13-9-3) at LIGHTNING (14-9-3)


Last 10 -- Colorado 5-3-2; Tampa Bay 6-3-1

Season series -- It's the only meeting of the season between the teams. Colorado swept a pair of games from the Lightning last season, winning 3-0 at Tampa Bay and 2-1 in a shootout in Denver in an 11-day span.

Big story -- Two teams that don't see each other very often cross paths and try to bounce back from losses. Colorado comes to town after a 2-1 shootout loss at Carolina on Friday night, while the Bolts limped back to Tampa after being demolished 8-1 at Boston on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Avalanche -- The Avs started out their five-game swing through the Southeast Division the same way they left home -- with an overtime loss. Milan Hedjuk's third-period goal got them a point, but Brandon Sutter's goal 1:15 into OT cost the Avs the second point.

The Avs got Foote and Anderson back on Friday but are still without forwards TJ Galiardi (wrist), Chris Stewart (hand) and David Van Der Gulik (leg), as well as Kyle Cumiskey (concussion).

Lightning -- It's a pit stop at the St. Pete Times Forum for the Bolts, who play before the home fans between a trip to Toronto and Boston and next week's trip to Western Canada.

It's been a grind for some of the Lightning's big guns. Steven Stamkos has gone four games without a goal following a hot start that had some suggesting he could reach 50 goals in 50 games. Linemate Martin St. Louis has played more than 20 minutes in 15 consecutive games -- not necessarily a good thing for a player who's generously listed at 5-foot-9.

Who's hot -- Colorado's Matt Duchene has goals in four of his last five games. Rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had an assist on Friday to extend his points streak to eight games, during which he has 11 points. It's the longest such streak by a rookie defenseman since Barry Beck of the Colorado Rockies (now the New Jersey Devils) in 1977-78. … Though his scoring pace has dropped, Stamkos still has 5 points in his last five games.

Injury report -- The Avs got defenseman Adam Foote (leg) and Craig Anderson (groin) back on Friday. … Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie is out indefinitely after spraining his ankle on Thursday. The Bolts are still without captain Vincent Lecavalier, who's recuperating from a broken hand.

Stat pack -- The Avs have won the last six games in the series between the teams, dating to March 1, 2004, when the Lightning won 3-0 at Colorado. The Bolts haven't beaten Colorado in Tampa since a 4-3 victory on March 7, 2003. … Colorado is 0-8-2 when scoring fewer than three goals.

Puck drop -- The Lightning need a win -- they're coming off a bad beating in Boston and will play six of their next nine games away from home. The Avs, battling Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead, would love two points before spending the next week visiting Florida, Atlanta and Washington.

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