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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (35-17-7-5) at Colorado Avalanche (33-15-11-5).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have looked much more like an elite team of late than the Colorado Avalanche have.

In a matchup of two first-place clubs, the surging Lightning look to extend a four-game winning streak when they meet the struggling Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

The Lightning, coming off a 4-2 win over Washington on Saturday, are 14-1-1-4 since Jan. 19 and closing in on the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cory Stillman scored the go-ahead goal with 3:29 left in the third period for the Southeast Division-leading Lightning, who are one win shy of their victory total of 2002-03.

The Lightning, who won the Southeast last season, are playing like they are more interested in earning the East's top seed than just making the playoffs for the third time in their 12-year history. Tampa Bay has a 19-point lead in its division.

"When you're doing the little things, getting back to the way we've got to play in the little details that are so important for us," said Tampa Bay forward Fredrik Modin, who had two first-period goals Saturday. "When we do that, the bounces are going to come to us. That's the way it works."

Stillman also had an assist, giving him five goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak.

Martin St. Louis added an empty-net goal on a power play with 10.3 seconds left to take over the NHL scoring lead with 75 points. St. Louis has an 11-game point streak, recording seven goals and 20 points in that span.

Modin made it 1-0 at 9:14 of the first to become Tampa Bay's fifth 20-goal scorer this season. The total is a team record.

Colorado blew a 2-0 lead and lost 5-4 in overtime to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

The Avalanche, leading the Northwest Division by one point over Vancouver, are 1-4-1-1 since Feb. 16.

"We haven't been sharp in quite a few areas, and when you have a chance to put a team away, and you don't do it, it gives a team some life," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said.

Alex Tanguay had a goal and three assists, Milan Hejduk had a goal and two assists, and Joe Sakic and Liles each had a goal and an assist for Colorado.

Tanguay was listed as questionable for Saturday's game after bruising his thigh Thursday against St. Louis. In the last 28 games, Tanguay has 34 points, while Hejduk has 30.

Hejduk's assist on Sakic's goal gave him 400 career points.

Avalanche center Riku Hahl injured his shoulder in the first period and didn't return. His status for Monday's game is uncertain.

STANDINGS: Lightning - 82 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Avalanche - 82 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - St. Louis, 31 goals, 44 assists and 75 points; Chris Dingman, 124 PIM. Avalanche - Hejduk, 30 goals; Tanguay, 49 assists and 71 points; Jim Cummins, 136 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 28): Lightning - Power play: 17 percent (47 for 276), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (187 for 221), 11th. Avalanche - Power play: 21.7 percent (60 for 277), 3rd. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (205 for 245), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (20-15-6, 2 SO, 2.39 GAA); John Grahame (15-7-1, 1, 1.86). Avalanche - David Aebischer (26-14-8, 4, 2.03); Phil Sauve (7-6-3, 2.79).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 19; Avalanche 5-4, OT. At Tampa, Fla., Hejduk scored his second goal of the game on a penalty shot 59 seconds into the extra period. It was only the third time an NHL game has ended on a penalty shot in overtime.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 17-10-3-3 on the road; Avalanche - 16-11-4-1 at home.

Associated Press
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