Lightning visit Avalanche with frequent-strike capabilities
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Tampa Bay is on a five-game point streak and Colorado is coming off a road trip in which it earned seven of a possible eight points, so one team is about to cool off -- even if for one night.
The Lightning (5-1-1) had a record-setting 6-3 victory in Chicago on Sunday night while the Avalanche head home after one of their most successful trips. Colorado won the last three contests of the four-game Eastern Conference swing after a shootout loss against the New York Rangers.
Its reward is a home matchup against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. But the way the Avalanche (6-1-2) are playing, nothing is shaking their confidence but they're not getting too cocky.
"We played some good games on the road," coach Jared Bednar said after Monday's 4-1 victory at Philadelphia. "Some of the ones when we were a little bit up and down, our big guys were good, our goaltending was good, our special teams were good. We are doing enough to win, and I still think we got room for improvement. I think a lot to like, a lot to build on but a lot to like, for sure."
One thing to like is the play of Colorado's top line. Captain Gabriel Landeskog had nine points (seven goals, two assists) on the road trip, including a hat trick against New Jersey. His linemates, center Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, have each recorded at least one point in all nine games this season.
"When you're playing with two good players like Mikko and Nate, offensively we're going to create and it's going to take care of itself," Landeskog said after the win over the Flyers. "We're just trying to move and skate and talk and try to be threats out there, all three of us."
As well as the Avalanche are playing, they haven't topped what Tampa Bay did against the Blackhawks. The Lightning had 33 shots on goal in the second period, which set an NHL record for shots in a period since the statistic became an official stat in 1997-98. Tampa Bay finished with a franchise-best 55 shots.
"There are so many things you need," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told The Tampa Bay Times. "It's why it doesn't happen that often. Everything has to go your way. The puck has to bounce over somebody's stick, you have to be in the right spot. It's really hard to do."
Winning in Colorado has not been hard for Tampa Bay of late. The Lightning have won their last three meetings in Denver and outscored the Avalanche 13-7 in that stretch, and bring the best penalty kill in the NHL into Pepsi Center. Tampa Bay didn't give up a power-play goal until Sunday, which snapped a streak of 28 straight kills to start the season.
"The PK had a (heck) of a run," goaltender Louis Domingue, who nearly made the save with his glove, told The Tampa Bay Times on Sunday.
Updated October 23, 2018