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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will face the Colorado Avalanche in what will probably be the game of the week. The Lightning have the third-most points in the NHL with 66, and the Avalanche have the second-most points (and most points in the Western Conference) with 68.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are winners of the last two Stanley Cups and contenders to win it all again this year. They have an experienced squad with center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman at the helm. They were both voted into the All-Star Game this year. I would be remiss if I did not mention goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s impact as well. Vasileskiy was also voted into the All-Star Game this year. He is an impressive player, and it is very difficult to score on him. He is the reason for many of Tampa Bays’ victories.
The Colorado Avalanche are having another impressive regular season. They finished last season’s shortened 56-game schedule with 82 points and are on pace to do even better this year. They are led by centers Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon, wingers Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, and defensemen Cale Makar and Devon Toews. Unfortunately, MacKinnon is injured and will miss this game, but Kadri is ready to go. Kadri is on a scoring tear and has 60 points, tied for third-most in the NHL. The Avalanche have a better team and are playing at home, so I will pick them to squeak out a victory.
Colorado Avalanche beat Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Tampa Bay Lightning cover, Over 6 goals.
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|Tampa Bay Lightning||Head-to-Head||Colorado Avalanche|
|Jon Cooper||Head Coach||Jared Bednar|
|30-10-6 (2nd in Atlantic Division)||Standing||32-8-4 (1st in Central Division)|
|Steven Stamkos (52)||Points||Nazem Kadri (60)|
|Steven Stamkos (20)||Goals||Mikko Rantanen (24)|
|Victor Hedman (37)||Assists||Nazem Kadri (41)|
|Victor Hedman (15)||+/-||Devon Toews (31)|
|Steven Stamkos (2.82)||Shots (Per Game)||Nathan MacKinnon (4.42)|
The Tampa Bay Lightning have one of their toughest matchups of the season in the Avalanche. However, they can win by limiting the Avalanche’s shots and avoiding penalties.
The Avalanche shoot an impressive 35 times per game. This results in almost 4.1 goals per game, the highest in the league. Tampa Bay’s instructions are pretty clear here: do not let Colorado take a lot of shots. The Avalanche can and will shoot a lot if you let them.
The Avalanche also have a very efficient power-play unit. They convert on 25% of their power-plays, tied for eighth-best in the league. This is a big part of why they score over four times a game. The Lightning cannot tempt the power-play gods and give them those scoring opportunities. Instead, they have to avoid getting penalized altogether, so they can make it harder for the Avalanche to score. This will be difficult, as the Lightning are penalized over four times per game.
The Colorado Avalanche are the better team in this game, but they are facing a Lightning Squad that knows how to win. If they want to secure a victory, they have to get second chance shots and bring more energy and effort.
The Avalanche will likely be going up and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in this game. Vasilevskiy is an impressive netminder and was named to his fourth All-Star game this season. Since Vasilevskiy is so impressive, the Avalanche will need to rush the net and look for second-chance shots. It will likely be one of the few ways they can score against him.
When two great teams face each other, the winning team often only plays a little better. If the Avalanche bring a little more energy and effort, that may be the reason they win. They have a younger squad, so they should be able to bring more energy, which will result in more hits, more shots, and more goals.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is widely regarded as one of the best netminders in the NHL. Vasilevskiy has the most wins (25), only gives up 2.23 goals per game, and has a .922 save percentage.
Vasilevskiy’s dominance has led the Lightning to a lot of victories and will be needed in this game more than usual. The Russian goalie will be facing an Avalanche team that shoots a lot and scores over four goals a game. Vasilevskiy does not need to be extra dominant; he just needs to be as dominant as usual. If he is, he will give his team a good chance to walk out of Denver with a win.
Cale Makar is an impressive young defenseman. The 2017 fourth overall pick is a starting defenseman and player over 25 minutes a game.
Makar can score and pass and has 18 goals and 26 assists. However, he is far from Colorado’s biggest scoring threat. He is not even their second-biggest scoring threat. That is why he is the key player. While the Lightning will be paying a lot of their attention to Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen, they will allow Makar to penetrate the offensive zone and take good shots or make good passes.
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|Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche Information|
|What||Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche|
|Where||Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado|
|When||Monday, February 10, 9:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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