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GAME: Colorado Avalanche (25-11-7-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (21-16-6-1).TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
If the Tampa Bay Lightning's last game is any indication, Colorado Avalanche goaltender David Aebischer could have his hands full when the teams meet at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The Lightning did all they could to extend their five-game winning streak Saturday night, firing 51 shots at Florida's Roberto Luongo. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Luongo stopped 50 of them, and Olli Jokinen scored two third-period goals to lift the Panthers to a 2-1 home victory.
The Lightning outshot the Panthers 51-15 and red-hot Martin St. Louis answered Jokinen's first goal early in the third by scoring 49 seconds later. But Jokinen added the winning score with 5:13 remaining, leaving Lightning coach John Tortorella unhappy with his team's overall effort.
"A lot of good things happened out there, but to win games, everybody's got to be there every night. That is what's frustrating," he said. "Some key guys need to be there all the time and they made some big mistakes."
John Grahame had 13 saves for Tampa Bay, but allowed more than one goal for the first time in five starts. The Lightning could have tied the team record of six consecutive victories and set the franchise mark of five consecutive road wins.
"We lose two points to a team we should beat," Tampa Bay captain Dave Andreychuk said. "They move up in the standings and we don't. That's the bottom line."
The victory pulled Florida to within seven points of Tampa Bay, which leads the Southeast Division with 49 points. Second-place Atlanta is just three points back after defeating Carolina 4-2 on Sunday.
St. Louis, who recorded a hat trick Thursday in a 5-4 victory over Carolina and got his 19th goal of the season Saturday, has 18 points in his last 12 games.
The Lightning will likely face another hot goaltender in Aebischer, who is 6-1-0-1 in his last eight games with a 1.62 goals-against average.
Aebischer, though, will be looking to get the Avalanche back on track after he was outplayed by San Jose's Vesa Toskala in a 2-1 loss Saturday night. Aebischer made 22 saves, but Toskala had 32 as the Avalanche had their four-game winning streak snapped.
The Avs, 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games, remained tied atop the Northwest Division because Vancouver lost 2-1 to Anaheim.
Colorado played without Peter Forsberg, its most productive player the last two weeks. The star center, who had 16 points in the previous eight games, was a late scratch because of a groin injury.
"Peter tweaked his groin in the last game (Thursday night against Dallas)," coach Tony Granato said. "He didn't skate Friday. During warmups today he felt a little uncomfortable. There's no sense in taking a chance. I don't know how long he'll be out."
Colorado is opening a four-game road trip.
|Mar 01 '04||TBL 3 at COL 0||B. Richards|
|Jan 19 '04||COL 5 at TBL 4 - OT||M. Hejduk|