It took a season, albeit a lockout-shortened one, for the Avalanche to get five goals from defensemen in 2012-13. It took 43 minutes to get one fewer than that total as the Avs' defensemen score four Sunday night.

This is just one of the many reasons the Avs are almost certainly going to the playoffs this spring. On a night when not every forward line had it going, the Avs' blue line came to the rescue with two-thirds of the offense in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning before 15,592 at the Pepsi Center.

Nick Holden, who couldn't get into the lineup most of the first half of the season, might never come out with the way he's playing. The big youngster from Alberta scored twice for the second time of his career, while Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson added goals for Colorado, which trailed 3-2 after two periods.

"We have some dynamic offensive guys like Erik and Tyson. They get scoring chances just about every game. So for me to chip in ... I think that's what we're going to need, everyone pitching in," Holden said.

Johnson, playing his first game since Feb. 8, scored the game-winner with 3:55 left. A tie game with less than four minutes left finished 6-3, with Holden and Paul Stastny adding empty-netters.

Johnson's goal, his eighth of the season after getting zero in 2012-13, came after he stole the puck in the offensive zone and stick-handled to the corner. It was at that moment when he remembered one of coach Patrick Roy's instructions on how to beat Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.