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Lightning at Avalanche preview

Tampa Bay seeks team-record 11th straight win; Grubauer out for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (39-15-5) at AVALANCHE (33-18-6)



The Game

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to extend their winning streak to a team-record 11 games when they visit the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Monday.

Curtis McElhinney will start for the Lightning, who have won 10 straight games for the second time this season, and are 11-0-1 in their past 12 games.

Pavel Francouz will start for the Avalanche, who have lost two straight games after winning their previous five. Colorado is third in the Central Division, two points behind the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.

Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer sustained a lower-body injury in a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at the U.S. Air Force Academy. There is no timetable for his return.


Players to watch

Lightning forward Brayden Point has 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in a 10-game point streak.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in the past 10 games.


They said it

"You kind of overlook what [Curtis McElhinney] has done. He's been exceptional for us, he's a big part of this streak we've been on. You've got two goalies and [Andrei Vasilevskiy] is our starter, but when [McElhinney] gets in, he gives us a chance to win every night. He's going to get games down the stretch as well. We just have to make sure both are humming by April." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper 

"We're obviously not happy with the last two games. We certainly missed some opportunities to get points. It's pretty frustrating, but we have to learn from it and get better." - Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole


Lightning projected lineup

Steven Stamkos -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn

Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette -- Tyler Johnson

Carter Verhaeghe -- Mitchell Stephens -- Yanni Gourde

Victor Hedman -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Cameron Gaunce -- Luke Schenn

Curtis McElhinney

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Blake Coleman

Injured: Braydon Coburn (undisclosed), Jan Rutta (lower body), Ryan McDonagh (lower body)

Avalanche projected lineup

Andre Burakovsky -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- J.T. Compher -- Joonas Donskoi

Valeri Nichushkin -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Nieto

T.J. Tynan -- Tyson Jost -- Vladislav Kamenev

Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Pavel Francouz

Hunter Miska

Scratched: Mark Barberio

Injured: Matt Calvert (lower body), Nazem Kadri (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body)


Status report

Coleman, a forward who was acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, could join the team Thursday in Las Vegas. … Rutta, a defenseman, skated Monday. … Miska was recalled from Colorado of the American Hockey League on Sunday.


Stat pack

The Lightning also won 10 straight games this season from Dec. 23-Jan. 11. ... Gourde has three points (two goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak. … Rantanen has three points (two goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak.

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