NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 5th (All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (19-20-2) at Colorado Avalanche (19-18-2), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche shoot for their first winning streak in three weeks when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Pepsi Center tonight for the first matchup between the clubs in almost three years.
After suffering three straight losses and falling into the bottom of the hotly-contested Northwest Division, the Avalanche rebounded with a strong performance Monday at Nashville. Wojtek Wolski scored a pair of goals and Joe Sakic reached a significant milestone to help Colorado to a 5-3 victory over the Predators.
Sakic recorded three assists to move onto the NHL's all-time top 10 scoring list. The Colorado captain now has 1,533 career points and passed Paul Coffey for 10th place.
Milan Hejduk, Andrew Brunette and Ossi Vaananen also had goals for the Avalanche and Peter Budaj turned away 26 shots.
Colorado, which stands in fifth place in the Northwest but is just five points in back of division-leading Vancouver, hasn't won back-to-back games since putting together three straight victories from December 11-15.
The Lightning will play the third contest of a four-game road trip tonight. Tampa Bay opened the swing with a 5-2 loss at Montreal on Tuesday, but regrouped to earn a 3-2 decision over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier each had a goal and an assist as the Lightning stopped Minnesota's eight-game home win streak. Marc Denis made an early lead stand by stopping 29 of 31 shots.
Tampa Bay, which has dropped three of five overall, is 9-9-2 on the road this season. The Lightning wrap up this trip with a visit to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Colorado and Tampa Bay haven't played since the Lightning posted a 3-0 victory at the Pepsi Center on March 1, 2004. Tampa is just 1-3-1 (one tie) in its last five trips to Colorado, however.
01/05 10:46:12 ET