AVALANCHE (2-5-1) at LIGHTNING (5-3-2)
TV: ALT, SUN
TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning return to Amalie Arena for the first time since Oct. 17 to play the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
The Lightning went 1-1-2 on their recent four-game road trip and will enjoy two games at home before beginning another four-game road trip next week.
"It's always good to get back in front of the fans and feed off their energy," Lightning goalie Ben Bishop said. "We had good road trip but not a great road trip. You can't let these games early in the season slip by so it's important to get these two on home ice."
Bishop has been a workhorse for the Lightning in the early part of the season. He will be making his 10th start in 11 games but he is not complaining about the heavy workload.
"I wasn't expecting it but when [Andrei Vasilevskiy] got hurt you could see it coming," Bishop said. "You want to embrace the challenge right now. I'd rather play 82 games if I could but obviously that's not going to happen."
Vasilevskiy practiced with the Lightning earlier in the week and was assigned to Syracuse of the American Hockey League for conditioning Wednesday. He is expected to join Tampa Bay after the homestand.
The Avalanche will finish their swing through Florida after a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start for Colorado. He is 1-3-1 with a 3.93 goals-against average and .869 save percentage.
"I just want him to play his game and focus on one save at a time," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Not look too far ahead and build his confidence around there. He's working hard. I had some slow starts, many slow starts, but the key is how hard you're working and [Varlamov] has the right attitude."
Roy is moving some of parts around on his top three lines. Alex Tanguay and Nathan MacKinnon will move to the top line with Jarome Iginla. Dennis Everberg will play on the third line centered by Carl Soderberg.
"I won't lie to you, everyone that knows me knows I hate to lose," Roy said. "But it is what it is. The thing I don't want to do is panic. I like to give them as much time as possible to see if things are working."
Here are the projected lineups:
Alex Tanguay - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog - Matt Duchene - Jack Skille
Dennis Everberg - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Mikhail Grigorenko
Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Nate Guenin
Scratched: Brad Stuart, Brandon Gormley
Jonathan Drouin - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Vladislav Namestnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Erik Condra
Alex Killorn - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Matt Carle - Jason Garrison
Andrej Sustr - Nikita Nesterov
Injured: Andrei Vasilevskiy (collarbone), Cedric Paquette (lower body)
Scratched: Jonathan Marchessault, Braydon Coburn
Status report: Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Boyle remains day-to-day even though he participated in the morning skate. ...The Avalanche had a mandatory morning skate Thursday after Roy canceled a practice scheduled for Wednesday. ...Marchessault was recalled from Syracuse on Thursday.
Who's hot: Hedman's nine assists are third in the NHL. ...Landeskog scored the only goal for Colorado on Tuesday.