The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly got their road trip back on track yesterday with their spectacular 4-2 win over Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars. However, there was not a lot of time to celebrate here in the Bolts Nation as the Bolts are back at it again tonight at the Pepsi Center as they go head-to-head with Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche. Let’s take a look at what we have in front of us tonight.
This game is going to prove to be one of the bigger challenges the Lightning have had to face this season. Not only does the opposing team have the home ice advantage tonight, they are also one of the most dominating teams in the National Hockey League right now.
The Avalanche is currently ranked fifth in the Western Conference and sixth in the entire league with a total of 81 points.
This team certainly has a lot of firepower at their disposal. They have 11 players that are above the 20 point line and 5 players that are above the 40 point line. This means that they have quite a few players who can take the puck to the net. This is not to say that the Lightning doesn’t have their fair share of offense, because we all know the truth there; however, this is going to be a test of our defensive line, who has had its share of difficulties this season.
If you look at the win/loss column, there is only 4 games separating the Avs and the Bolts; however, when you look at the individual numbers, there is a slight advantage to Colorado.
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One of the things that the Lightning are going to have to watch out for is Colorado’s Power Play squad. While the penalty kill has been improving as of late, it would still probably be for the best if the Bolts could keep themselves out of the penalty box as much as possible during this encounter.
The Avs have a slightly higher Shot on Goal average than the Lightning do. One of the keys to this game is going to be not only taking the puck to the net, but being there for the rebound when it comes. This is one of the simplest ways to throw off an opposing goaltender is to pepper him with the puck.
Speaking of goaltenders, it will be Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop getting the start between the pipes tonight for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has been just as steady as ever after his most recent injury scare. In his 46 games this season with the Bolts he has gone 29-9-4 with a GAA of 2.00 and a Save Percentage of .933. This is certainly enough to take on all comers, but he will definitely need the aid of his defense in front of the net.
Leading the way in goals for the Avalanche is rookie Nathan MacKinnon, who has 22 goals and 25 assists for a total of 47 points to accompany his plus-14 rating. However, it is center Matt Duchene that leads the way for the Avalanche in points. He has 19 goals and 34 assists for a combined total of 53 points.
On the other side of the ice, it is still the captain, Martin St. Louis, who leads the way for the Lightning in all things scoring. In the 60 games he’s played this season, he has 29 goals and 31 assists for a total of 60 points to accompany his plus-17 rating.
In the last two games, the captain has scored 2 goals each. Can he keep that going tonight in Denver against the Avalanche? I guess we will have to watch and find out.
Do you think the Bolts are going to be able to keep the momentum rolling tonight in Denver and get a win streak going? Who do you think is going to stand out tonight and help the Lightning bring home another two greatly needed points? Let us know what you think in the comments below.