DENVER (AP) _ Nikolai Khabibulin barely broke a sweat.
Khabibulin needed to make only 16 saves Monday night in posting his 35th
career shutout as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 for
their fifth straight win.
``I wasn't tested,'' Khabibulin said. ``We played great defense and that's
part of it. This was one of the best defensive games I've been a part of.
``We moved the puck and didn't allow them many chances. The guys blocked a
lot of shots, and we kept control of the puck. The plan was to keep control of
the puck as much as possible, and for most of the game we followed that plan.''
Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis scored third-period goals, and Brad
Richards also scored for the Lightning, who set a franchise record for road
wins in a season at 18.
The Lightning, 9-0-1-2 in their last 12 games, raised their point total to
84, matching Ottawa and Philadelphia for the most points in the Eastern
``We have the team to be where we are,'' Lecavalier said. ``But we have to
stay even-keel. There is still a lot of work to do, with 17 or 18 games left to
the playoffs. So our work isn't done.''
Colorado's David Aebischer had 26 saves.
Colorado's home-ice woes continued. The Avalanche are winless in their last
seven home games (0-4-2-1) and have scored only six goals in those games. They
also are 1-5-1-1 in their last eight games overall.
``There is no question that we are in a slump,'' Avs coach Tony Granato
said. ``It's a lot longer than we thought we would be in one. Going through the
season, you obviously think you are going to have little stumbles, but I didn't
think we would get caught in a rut like this.
``We haven't been able to generate a whole lot of offense. With the people
we have on this team, that should be our strength.''
Avalanche wing Paul Kariya said his team is ``trying to be too cute when we
should be getting the puck to the net. You can't win games making 14, 15
Tampa Bay outshot Colorado 10-4 in the third period, scoring twice.
Lecavalier made it 2-0, coming down the right side, faking left and scoring
through an opening on the right side of the net at 14:20. It was his 25th goal
of the season.
St. Louis added an empty-net goal with 1:05 to go, his 32nd.
Tampa Bay had a 15-5 edge in shots in the first period and led 1-0 on
Richards' 21st goal. Fredrik Modin's shot ricocheted just right of the goal,
and Richards punched it in.
Aebischer kept the score from being more lopsided, stopping Martin Cibak on
a partial breakaway and later making a sprawling save to rob Lecavalier.
Colorado's Milan Hejduk hit the goalpost during the Avs' lone power play of the
In a scoreless second period, Aebischer had a save off Richards on a
two-on-one rush. Khabibulin had nice saves against Teemu Selanne and Hejduk and
a glove save off Steve Moore.
Colorado had a prime scoring chance on a two-on-one early in the period, but
Travis Brigley whiffed on a shot in front.