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Preview: Lightning at Avalanche

Goalie Ben Bishop expected to start for Tampa Bay; Calvin Pickard likely for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (25-24-8) at AVALANCHE (16-38-2)

8 p.m. ET; ALT, SUN, NHL.TV


Lightning team scope

Goalie Ben Bishop is expected to start for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are 3-0-2 in their past five games and 2-0-3 in their past five road games, but six points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Lightning lost 4-3 in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Saturday in their first game after a six-day break. They're 2-4-4 in the second game of a back-to-back set. "We've got to start getting two (points) instead of just one," coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times. "But I can't sit here and say we didn't leave it all out there. Look at all these teams that come out of the break and not winning. I thought we gave ourselves every chance to win the game. Unfortunately, we didn't." Forward Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist after missing two games with a lower-body injury. The Lightning are 1-4-2 in their past seven games at Pepsi Center.


Avalanche team scope

The Colorado Avalanche open a two-game homestand attempting to win their second game in a row, matching their season high. The Avalanche didn't have a morning skate but goalie Calvin Pickard is expected to start after he made 28 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday to end a five-game road trip. The Avalanche ended a five-game losing streak and went 1-4-0 on the trip. "We're trying not to be a group that comes up with excuses," defenseman Tyson Barrie told the Avalanche website. "We've obviously had our struggles this year, and now is not the time to start doing it. We just show up every day, and we know we still got fans watching and fans that really care about our team." Colorado is 7-19-1 at Pepsi Center, including 2-1-0 in the past three games. Forward Mikko Rantanen is ninth among NHL rookies with 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists). Forward Carl Soderberg will play his 300th NHL game.


Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Jonathan Drouin

Ondrej Palat -- Valtteri Filppula -- Brian Boyle

Gabriel Dumont -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Ryan Callahan (lower body), Steven Stamkos (knee)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Matt Nieto

Blake Comeau -- Matt Duchene -- Mikko Rantanen

Mikhail Grigorenko -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Andreas Martinsen -- Carl Soderberg -- Joe Colborne

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin -- Nikita Zadorov

Patrick Wiercioch -- Mark Barberio

Calvin Pickard

Jeremy Smith

Scratched: Cody Goloubef

Injured: Rene Bourque (head), Erik Johnson (broken fibula), Semyon Varlamov (hip surgery)


Status report

The Lightning reassigned forward Cory Conacher to Syracuse of the American Hockey League.


Who's hot

Point has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game streak. ... Johnson has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past eight games. ... Hedman has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past seven games. ... Killorn has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past eight games. ... Kucherov has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past six games. ... Rantanen has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past eight games.

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