Season Series: The cross-conference opponents face off in the first and only meeting of the season. Last year the Lightning took the only matchup between the clubs by a 6-5 score on home ice. They come into Friday’s contest with points in three of the past five games overall versus Colorado.
The Big Story: Martin St. Louis returned to action in the team’s last game on Thursday at HP Pavillion after missing five games due to facial and nasal fractures. He had a goal, but found both himself and the team on the wrong end of a 7-2 loss to the Sharks that prevented the Bolts from stringing together their third straight victory.Team Scope:
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay concludes a two-game toad trip Friday in Denver. After falling 7-2 in San Jose on Thursday night in the first match of the stretch, the Bolts are seeking their third win in the past four games, as well the momentum that would follow heading into the holiday break. Martin St. Louis, playing in his first game since suffering facial and nasal fractures on Dec. 8, had a goal against the Sharks and Dominic Moore also scored, but a slow start that saw the Lightning give up five goals in the first period gave it little chance of extending their win streak to three games. Mathieu Garon stopped five of eight shots and was replaced Dwayne Roloson, who made 31 saves.
AVALANCHE – Colorado faces the Lightning to wrap up a four-game home stand. The Avalanche bring an impressive seven-game home win streak into Friday’s contest, during which each of the team’s past four victories at the Pepsi Center have come by just a single goal. Part of the success has come as a result of the play of goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who has allowed a total of just five goals during the Avalanche’s three-game overall win streak. The successful stretch continued Wednesday in a 3-2 victory over the Blues. Colorado got out to a quick two-goal lead in the first period on tallies by Paul Stastny and Cody McLeod, and despite having the advantage reduced to just one, added an insurance goal later on in the second to seal the victory.
Who’s Hot: Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer is riding a three-game point streak with a goal and a pair of assists in that span, while Dominic Moore has collected points in five of his past six games. Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson has three points in as many games during the team’s win streak and Cody McLeod comes in with two goals in his past three games as well for the Avalanche.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Nate Thompson (lower body, day-to-day), Matt Gilroy (lower body, day-to-day) and Ryan Shannon (lower body, day-to-day). AVALANCHE – David Jones (groin) and Kyle Quincey (groin).
Notable Quotable: “We have to look at this as a must-win before Christmas. We've got an easier schedule after Christmas, being at home a bit more. It's never easy coming out here. But now we have a chance to win in Colorado and come back home 1-1. We just have to answer for this.” – Martin St. Louis, on the importance of winning Friday’s game against Colorado
Connections: Tampa Bay defenseman Brett Clark played in 371 games with Colorado from 2003-2010. Avalanche defenseman Shane O'Brien appeared in 96 games with Tampa Bay from parts of 2006-07 season to the 2008-09 season. Colorado forward Brad Malone is the younger cousin of 10 years of Tampa Bay winger Ryan Malone.
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