NHL Hockey

6
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Tampa Bay 0 4 2 6
Colorado 0 1 4 5
5
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, December 16, 2017
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 16,956

Lightning without Callahan for Avalanche game

Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche

  1. Tampa Bay beat Arizona, 4-1, at Gila River Arena on Thursday night, improving to 6-0-0 while outscoring its opponents by a combined 27-10 this month. The Bolts have scored four or more goals 17 times in 2017-18 -- most of any team in the league entering play this weekend.
  2. Colorado defeated Florida, 2-1, at Pepsi Center on Thursday night, snapping a three-game home losing streak, and improving to 3-1-0 in its last four games overall. The Avs are now 5-4-2 in one-goal contests this season (including shootouts).
  3. The Lightning beat the Avalanche, 5-2, at Amalie Arena in these clubs' first meeting of the year on December 7. Dating to the beginning of 2011-12, Tampa Bay and Colorado have played against each 10 times, each team skating off with five wins.
  4. Brayden Point lit the lamp in his fifth straight game on Thursday night, earning first-star honors, and giving him five markers and four helpers during his current six-game point streak overall. Point will be skating in his 100th NHL game Saturday night.
  5. Nathan MacKinnon potted both of the Avs' goals Thursday night, recording his third multi-goal performance of the year, and giving him four markers in his last two home skates. Including one of his two career hat tricks (February 22, 2015), MacKinnon has 13 points (5g, 8a) in nine career games against Tampa Bay.
  6. Tampa Bay has three skaters with 30+ points entering play this weekend -- tied for most of any NHL club. Colorado has one such player in 2017-18 (MacKinnon -- 35 points).

DENVER -- The Tampa Lightning aim to keep their perfect December intact when they face the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.

In a bit of rare bad news for the Lightning, though, they'll have to do so without veteran forward Ryan Callahan.

Callahan suffered an upper-body injury after he and Arizona Coyotes defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson got tangled up and crashed into the boards during the third period of the Lightning's 4-1 win Thursday.

The 32-year-old winger's right arm was in a sling after the game, according to the Tampa Bay Times. General manager Steve Yzerman told the paper Friday that Callahan is sidelined indefinitely and will be evaluated in three to four weeks.

"You feel so bad for him," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman told the Times. "He's battled hard through the whole year, and is such an important player for us."

Callahan missed most of last season with a nagging hip injury but was playing well on the fourth line this season. He had six points in 29 games, and on Thursday, he had five shots and three blocked shots before leaving the game.

"I'm sick to my stomach to watch a guy work as hard as he did to come back, play so well and to have something like that," captain Steven Stamkos told the paper.

On a better note for the Lightning, they head into Denver on a six-game winning streak and own the NHL's best record at 23-6-2.

In the win over the Coyotes on Thursday, Nikita Kucherov scored in a third consecutive game and 21-year-old Brayden Point recorded his first career "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" -- a goal, assist and a fight.

Point, a second-year center, has impressed with Tampa Bay this season. He has 30 points in 31 games.

"I'm just feeling more comfortable," Point told the Tampa Bay Times. "The first year, you're just trying to get your feet wet, and I didn't know if I was staying up or going down (to the AHL). But I'm feeling more comfortable, and playing with two great linemates (Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat). They help."

The Avalanche (15-14-2) have turned things around since their 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Dec. 7, winning three of their last four since their four-game slide to begin this month.

Colorado sits last in the Western Conference Central Division with 32 points.

"We know where we're at in the standings," Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov said after the team's 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. "By the end of this month we need to be in the playoff picture. ... Six or eight points out of the playoffs by the beginning of January, it's hard to play catch-up hockey."

The Avalanche were the worst team in the league a year ago, but have benefited from the breakout play of center Nathan MacKinnon this season.

MacKinnon had his third two-goal game of the season in the Avalanche's 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. He has 35 points -- 13 goals and 22 assists -- in 31 games and now has 12 goals in his last 22 games.

"Nate is playing unbelievable right now," Varlamov said. "He's a very skilled guy and I'm glad to have him on our team."

Colorado center Alexander Kerfoot missed his second straight game with a foot injury Thursday. Avs coach Jared Bednar said he is questionable for Saturday's game.

Updated December 15, 2017

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