Now that the Stadium Series game is in the rear-view mirror, the Colorado Avalanche can head back inside to focus on the stretch run before the playoffs start. The Avalanche have been playing well lately, right up until the third period Thursday night and the disappointment of the 3-1 loss to the last place Los Angele Kings in the outdoor game.
The Avalanche have lost two in a row after their five game winning streak. They are going to need to get back to playing like the contender they are, and no better way to do that than hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bolts have been the best team in the NHL for the past few months and they clearly have an eye towards a Stanley Cup run. Sunday afternoon, the Lightning paid a huge price - a 1st round pick and Colorado native Nolan Foote - in order to acquire Blake Coleman from the New Jersey Devils. There’s no better way to prove you’re a legitimate contender than to shut down the Lightning on home ice.
The Avalanche look to be without their starting goalie Philipp Grubauer for at least a couple games so they will look to rookie Pavel Francouz to carry the load. He has been very good this season, so if the team plays well in front of him, goaltending shouldn’t be an issue.
With the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues only two points ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, the Avalanche are going to spend the next eight weeks battling for the best possible playoff seeding in the Central Division.
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