Last time it didn’t go so well. Tampa Bay beat the Avs 5-0 just a week ago, despite Colorado playing a decent underlying game. Andrei Vasilevskiy saw the Avalanche going to one knee to propose goals all night and just kept saying no.
Hopefully, with hearts in the air at Ball Arena on Valentine's Day, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and the rest of the squad can get a little luckier in love and goalscoring tonight.
Injuries have continued to mount for Colorado, even in just a week since they took the ice in Tampa. Erik Johnson is now out, and with Cale Makar still on the shelf and Josh Manson not quite ready to return that means all of the Avs' expected right defensemen are not playing tonight. Cool cool cool.
Up front, Ben Meyers was called up from the Eagles to fill out the forward lineup, now that there aren’t seven healthy defensemen. Coach Jared Bednar has to go back to four full lines. He played well as the top center in Loveland while he was in the AHL, and will look to stick with the big club this time after strong play at the NHL level in his last stint.
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Valeri Nichushkin
Evan Rodrigues — J.T. Compher — Mikko Rantanen
Andrew Cogliano — Alex Newhook — Logan O’Connor
Matt Nieto — Ben Meyers — Denis Malgin
Sam Girard — Devon Toews
Bowen Byram — Andreas Englund
Kurtis MacDermid — Brad Hunt
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
After beating Colorado last week, Tampa went to Dallas and won there too. This two-game win streak has been fueled by their second line, as Brandon Hagel and Anthony Cirelli racked up five total goals between them. That Hagel trade just continues to look better and better.
On the back end, Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev, and Erik Cernak just make everyone around them look good as elderly blueliners Zach Bogosian and Ian Cole are playing like they’re back in their primes and rookie Nick Perbix has been a hidden gem.
Ultimately, it all comes down to Vasilevskiy - if the Avs can get traffic in front and beat him early they can win. If he settles in comfortably and gets hot, look out.
Steven Stamkos — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel — Anthony Cirelli — Alex Killorn
Ross Colton — Nick Paul — Patrick Maroon
Vladislav Namestnikov — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Victor Hedman — Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev — Erik Cernak
Ian Cole — Nicklaus Perbix
It’ll be a rematch of Vasilevskiy vs. Georgiev, as Pavel Francouz is out injured again and Lightning backup Brian Elliott may or may not exist.