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
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
Scratched: Matt Taormina
Injured: Ryan Callahan (hip)
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.
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.