Skip to main content


game preview

Preview: Avalanche at Lightning

Tampa Bay looks for second-fastest start in franchise history; Colorado aims to play tighter defense

by Corey Long / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (2-1-0) at LIGHTNING (3-0-0) 

7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, ALT, NHL.TV

Avalanche team scope

The Colorado Avalanche opened the season playing three games in four days and lost 3-0 to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, their first loss under coach Jared Bednar. The Avalanche have trailed by at least two goals in each of their first three games and have given up 11 goals. Bednar said consistency on defense is something Colorado can improve. "Defensively we've been OK, but our breakdowns are big ones right now," Bednar said Thursday. "Our puck management isn't the best right now. We're defending, we're getting the puck back and then we're not making the right decision with the puck and they are back on us again." The Avalanche also want to improve a penalty kill that's only at a 57.1 percent (8-for-14) success rate so far.

Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to start the season 4-0-0 for the second time in franchise history. The Lightning opened the 2003-04 season 6-0-0 on the way to winning their first Stanley Cup. This is the second straight time Tampa Bay has won its first three games to begin the season, but coach Jon Cooper says this season feels different. "We know where we're at and we like our team," Cooper said. "This 3-0, we're in a better spot right now as a team than we were in last year's 3-0. There was a little bit of smoke and mirrors in last year's 3-0. We played one marginal period out of nine to start the season. Now we've got to push, because if memory serves me correct, we didn't win Game 4 last season [a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings]." Tampa Bay will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its first game at Amalie Arena with a ceremonial puck drop, featuring Lightning founder Phil Esposito.

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko - Carl Soderberg - Matt Duchene

Andreas Martinsen - Joe Colborne - Blake Comeau

Cody McLeod - Ben Smith - Gabriel Bourque

Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson

Francois Beauchemin - Tyson Barrie

Fedor Tyutin - Patrick Wiercioch

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Eric Gelinas

Injured: Rene Bourque (groin), Mikko Rantanen (sprained ankle), John Mitchell (hip)

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Brayden Point

Cedric Paquette - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov - Braydon Coburn

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Matt Taormina

Injured: Ryan Callahan (hip)

Status report

The Lightning recalled Taormina, a defenseman, from Syracuse of the American Hockey League and sent Slater Koekkoek down in a corresponding move. Taormina, who turned 30 on Thursday, has 12 points in 59 career games with the New Jersey Devils and Lightning. Koekkoek was a healthy scratch for the first three games of the season. … Bourque will be replaced by McLeod in the lineup. … Rantanen is expected to join the Avalanche within a week, according to the Denver Post. The rookie forward is on a conditioning assignment with San Antonio of the AHL.

Who's hot

Killorn has scored a goal in each of the first three games. … MacKinnon leads the Avalanche with four points (goal, three assists) through three games.

View More