Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds, Picks and Preview -- 10/23/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, Altitude, ESPN+

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: NL
BetMGM: Both -110
Caesars: Lightning -120, Avalanche +100

Season record
Avalanche: 1-3-0, 2 points
Lightning: 2-2-0, 4 points

Matt Fargo is coming off a loss with Nashville on Thursday and he is now 5-4 on the season. He has put together a 312-268 +$20,201 NHL record since the start of the 2018 season and he is ready to keep it rolling with his Friday Top Play! Catch Matt’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Avalanche - Lightning preview and analysis


Recent form
Avalanche: lost 4-1 vs. Panthers on Tuesday
Lightning: lost 4-1 at Panthers on Thursday

Colorado Avalanche *shakes hands* Tampa Bay Lightning

Losing 4-1 to the Florida Panthers.

This is what happens when you're on Twitter with trends happening and you get caught in the cycle.

But one of the hopeful Stanley Cup Final matchups from last year will come to fruition on Saturday when the high-octane Avalanche visit the two-time Stanley Cup champions in what's bound to be a hell of a showdown.

While we should look at it that way, this is more of a matchup for two teams that have gotten off to shaky starts to start the season.

The Avalanche, the winners of the Presidents' Trophy last season, have dropped three straight since their season-opening victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at home. Colorado is having to reintegrate MVP Nathan MacKinnon back into the lineup after missing time due to COVID-19 protocol.

Colorado has also had to adjust to a new goaltender. Darcy Kuemper, in the midst of replacing Philipp Grubauer, is off to a 1-2-0 start with a 3.79 GAA and .890 save percentage.

"I mean, we've got 78 games left," Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "That's a lot of hockey. Start with one, and obviously playing another tough opponent here [on Saturday at Tampa]. There's no secret formula, right? We've got to work and that's what we are doing and what we are trying to do."

The Lightning appear to be in a rut themselves. Following a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the night they rose their second straight championship banner to the rafters, Tampa Bay had to rally from three goals down to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. That followed with a 2-1 overtime win over the Washington Capitals.

That win over Washington came with a price: Nikita Kucherov is on LTIR once again and will miss a significant amount of time this season. The former league MVP missed all of last regular season before coming back in the playoffs and leading Tampa to the Cup.

Tampa Bay went 0-for-6 on the power play in Tuesday's loss to the Panthers. The Lightning could not find a way to beat Spencer Knight (30 saves) and Andrei Vasilevskiy is off to a rough start (2-2-0, 3.22 GAA, .893 save percentage).

"Obviously we're missing 'Kuch,' one of the best half-wall guys in the game," Lightning center Brayden Point said. "Our power play runs through him. It's going to be a work in progress. There's going to be things we have to iron out, but tonight wasn't good."

Many in the hockey world expect this to still be a serious possibility for the Stanley Cup Final. But these rough starts for some of these teams, even the Vegas Golden Knights included, are a gentle reminder that we're a ways away from being done with this season.

Prediction


I'd expect Kuemper to be back after getting the night off Thursday, but also a big chance for the Lightning to bounce back. Steven Stamkos is off to a hot start with seven points through four games, and if the Tampa captain can keep this up, it'll be a good night for Tampa. Lightning win 4-3

Betting trends


The Avalanche are 63-35 when playing their third game in five days over the past three seasons.

Colorado is 21-12 in its last 33 non-conference games.

Colorado is 12-6 in games following a loss by three or more goals.

The Lightning are 31-10 in games following two consecutive unders.

Tampa Bay is 21-3 after scoring one goal or less in its previous game.

Projected lines


Avalanche:

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Andre Burakovsky -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher

Darren Helm -- Tyson Jost -- Logan O'Connor

Sampo Ranta -- Mikhail Maltsev -- Martin Kaut

Samuel Girard -- Cale Makar

Bowen Byram -- Erik Johnson

Jack Johnson -- Ryan Murray

Darcy Kuemper

Lightning:

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Corey Perry

Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli -- Steven Stamkos

Pat Maroon -- Ross Colton -- Mathieu Joseph

Boris Katchouk -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Taylor Raddysh

Victor Hedman -- Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Statistical leaders


Avalanche:
Points: J.T. Compher -- 4
Goals: J.T. Compher -- 2
Assists: Nazem Kadri -- 3
TOI: Cale Makar -- 23:48
Goalie: Darcy Kuemper -- 1-2-0, 3.79 GAA, .890 save percentage

Lightning:
Points: Steven Stamkos -- 7
Goals: Steven Stamkos -- 3
Assists: Victor Hedman -- 6
TOI: Victor Hedman -- 26:07
Goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy -- 2-2-0, 3.22 GAA, .893 save percentage

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert hockey picks today. And if you enjoyed this Colorado Avalanche - Tampa Bay Lightning prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NHL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.