The Colorado Avalanche welcomed the Tampa Bay Lightning to Denver for the time since Feb. 17, 2020, defeating the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions 3-2. In a game billed as a possible preview of this year’s Stanley Cup Final, the Avalanche relied on timely goals and solid goaltending to secure the victory. It was the second win over Tampa Bay this season, with Colorado having won in a 4-3 shootout in Florida in October.
It was the first game in nine days for both teams, and the Avalanche came out sharper, outshooting Tampa Bay 24-11 in the first period and scoring the first two goals of the game. The 24 shots on goal were a season-high for Colorado in a single period.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Avalanche Extends Point Streak
The Avalanche has at least one point in 18 consecutive games, going 16-0-2 since losing to the Nashville Predators on Dec. 16 in Tennessee. It is the longest point streak in franchise history, eclipsing the 2000-01 Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche team. The streak is good enough for the 14th best in NHL history, tying eight other teams.
The win gives Colorado 70 points on the season and moves them back into first place in the league, besting the Florida Panthers by a single point, with two games in hand. Colorado also leads the entire league with a .778 points percentage.
Toews Continues Stellar Play
Colorado defenseman Devon Toews had a goal and an assist on the night. The effort gives the Abbotsford, British Columbia native 32 points on the season, the best mark of his career. It was his 10th multi-point performance in the current campaign, and it brought his plus/minus to plus-34, which ranks second in the NHL and best among all defensemen.
Toews’ goal came at 6:16 in the first period on a flawless pass from Nazem Kadri. Kadri outwaited Tampa Bay defenseman Jan Rutta to dish a pass from the right face-off circle, across the ice, and onto the tape of a charging Toews.
Related: Avalanche’s Toews Emerging as Dark-Horse Norris Trophy Candidate
It was the 44th goal by a Colorado defenseman, which leads the league. It puts the team’s defensive corps on a pace to score 80 goals for the season, which would tie them for fifth all-time.
Avalanche Show Tenacity, Again
Jon Cooper, head coach of the Lightning, pulled his goalie — and last year’s Vezina Trophy finalist — Andrei Vasilevskiy, with three and a half minutes to go. The talented Tampa Bay squad kept the puck in the offensive zone for most of that stretch, giving the Avalanche all they could handle. But timely saves from Colorado’s netminder, Darcy Kuemper, and key blocked shots from defensemen Erik Johnson and Jack Johnson held the Lightning in check.
It was the seventh game the Avalanche won by a single goal since the start of this calendar year, which leads the NHL. The team is now 19-0-2 at home since Nov. 3 of last year.
Game Notes and Up Next
Avalanche forward Darren Helm returned to the ice for his first game since Jan. 10. He had an even plus/minus rating and 9:18 time on ice.
Nazem Kadri had an assist in the game, notching his 61st point of the season. It matches his career-high, which he recorded in 82 games in the 2016-17 campaign. He’s hit this milestone in only 42 games played so far this year.
Team captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his 20th goal of the season. It was the ninth time in his career he has had at least 20 goals. The goal was Landeskog’s 11th since Jan. 1, which is tied for fifth-best in the league with Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Vasilevskiy stopped 44 of 47 shots-on-goal. Kuemper stopped 36 of 38.
The Avalanche are back in action on Super Bowl Sunday when they travel to Dallas to face the Stars. The game is scheduled to begin at Noon Mountain Time, well ahead of the Super Bowl kickoff.