NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (14-17-2) at Colorado Avalanche (17-17-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to close a four-game homestand with a perfect record when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning for tonight's battle at the Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche are 3-0 so far on their residency, winning all three games by one-goal margins.
Overall, Colorado has won its last seven games on home ice to give the club an 11-9-0 record in the Mile High City this season. It matches the franchise's longest home winning streak since moving from Quebec City to Denver. The Avs also won seven in a row on home ice from Jan. 23-Deb. 25-2003.
The Avalanche won for the fourth time in five trips to the ice in Wednesday's victory over St. Louis. Jay McClement, who was traded from St. Louis to Colorado last season, scored the winner in the second period to help the Avalanche take a 3-2 decision over the Blues.
Paul Stastny and Cody McLeod each had a goal for the Avalanche, while Jean- Sebastien Giguere turned aside 37 shots in the win.
"This is a good time to do it, in December where we play a lot of games at home," said Stastny. "We have one more game until Christmas that is what we want to focus on and not get distracted."
After tonight, the Avs won't play again until Monday, when they visit the Minnesota Wild.
Colorado forward David Jones has missed the last four games with a groin injury and is questionable for tonight. Defenseman Kyle Quincey was also dealing with a groin problem, but he was a healthy scratch when the Avs faced the Blues on Wednesday.
The Lightning will try to bounce back tonight after having a two-game winning streak snapped with Wednesday's 7-2 rout in San Jose. Tampa Bay, which has lost three of five and eight of its last 11 tilts, was on its first two-game winning streak since Nov. 25-26 before getting drilled by the Sharks.
San Jose jumped all over the Bolts on Wednesday, as Logan Couture scored twice in a first period blitz to help the Sharks take a 5-1 lead in the first 20 minutes. Mathieu Garon started the game in net for Tampa, but was yanked just 6:21 in after allowing three goals on eight shots. Dwayne Roloson was touched for four goals on 35 shots.
Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis each had a goal for the Lightning.
"We didn't come out ready to battle," said St. Louis. "Against that team, you have to be willing to battle in your own end."
St. Louis was playing in his first game since suffering a broken nose and a fractured orbital bone in practice on Dec. 8. He wore a full metal cage and scored a goal in his third straight appearance, giving him 10 markers and 23 points in 28 games.
Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy and forwards Ryan Shannon and Nate Thompson are all questionable for tonight with lower body injuries.
Tampa Bay has lost six of its last eight away games and is closing out a three-game road trip tonight. The Bolts are just 6-12-2 as the visiting team this season. The club's next game is on Tuesday, as the Lightning open a three-game homestand against Philadelphia, Montreal and Colorado.
The Lightning had lost six straight in the series with Colorado before recording a 6-5 home win on Dec. 4 of last season. Tampa has lost in its last three trips to Denver and last won at the Pepsi Center on March 1, 2004.
12/23 10:44:37 ET