Two of the hottest properties in the NHL go head-to-head on Saturday night as the Colorado Avalanche host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Denver at Ball Arena.
The Avs and Lightning both hold playoff spots at the minute, and the expectation is not just to make the playoffs for these teams, they are expected to go deep.
Colorado Avalanche vs Tampa Bay Lightning Head to Head
These teams have met once already this season, a game that the Avalanche won in a shootout and that came in Tampa. Before that, they’ve not met since the start of 2020 due to divisions not mixing last season.
In that victory for the Avs, their stars came to play with Nathan MacKinnon leading the team thanks to a three-point night. Mikko Rantanen scored a goal in the game and Cale Makar bagged two assists.
Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning and had an assist, but that was not enough to lead his team to victory.
Things are even between these teams over the most recent 23 games, which goes back to 2007, with Colorado winning 13 and Tampa winning 10.
Colorado Avalanche Form
The Avs are in control of a playoff spot, and after a start to the season that has included injuries to key players, there is a belief that they will go on to be much better when healthy.
They have won their last eight home games at the Ball Arena, which is at high altitude and they use that to their advantage against opponents.
On Tuesday night, the Avalanche won 4-2 against the New York Rangers. Val Nichushkin scored twice in that game, as he continues his strong start to the season on the second line.
Overall, Nazem Kadri leads the team in points with 37 from 23 games while Mikko Rantanen is behind with 28 from 23 games. Gabriel Landeskog is the third leading scorer on the team, but the Avs will have to do without him for the next couple of weeks through injury, while Devon Toews and Bowen Byram are others that will also miss the game.
Tampa Bay Lightning Form
The Tamps Bay Lightning are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, and of course, face far more pressure than any other team because of that. They have started well, but are behind both Toronto and Florida in the Atlantic Division, and have not played with the same authority this season.
They’ve won seven games from their last 10 though, so will arrive in Colorado on the back of some good form. On Tuesday night, the Lightning recorded a 3-2 win over the LA Kings after overtime, a game that was far closer than it should have been, and they will need to be more clinical against the Avalanche.
So far this season, Steven Stamkos leads the way with 33 points from 27 games while defenseman Victor Hedman is on a point per game pace, with 28 points from 28 games, and the Avs will need to watch him from the blue line.