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Avalanche Heads to the Sunshine State

Colorado begins two-game stand in Florida against the Panthers

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

In the sixth game the team has played in 10 days, the Colorado Avalanche (16-7-5) takes on the Florida Panthers (11-10-5) at BB&T Center on Thursday. It is the first of two matchups between the clubs this season and the only time Colorado will play in Sunrise, Florida.

The Avalanche franchise holds a 23-10-6 all-time record against the Panthers, which includes a 14-4-2 mark while on the road. The Avs swept Florida in the 2017-18 season series, outscoring the Panthers by a 9-4 margin.

Following the clash, Colorado heads across the peninsula to battle the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, closing out the team's four-game road trip.

Last Time Out

On Tuesday, the Avalanche fell 6-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins despite a second-period rally to overcome a three-goal deficit and briefly tie the game. In his first contest back from injury, Tyson Barrie netted the first marker for the Avalanche, converting on a power play midway through the second frame. Carl Soderberg followed soon after, lighting the lamp for the ninth time this season, and Matt Nieto tied the outing with a short-handed tally to end the middle stanza. Although the Avs entered the third period having erased the Penguins' lead, Patric Hornqvist registered a natural hat trick and lifted his team to a win over Colorado. In the end, the Avalanche outshot Pittsburgh 45-32 as Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves.

Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo earned his 77th career shutout in a 5-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Mike Hoffman (two goals), Jonathan Huberdeau (one goal, two assists) and Aleksander Barkov (three assists) all posted multi-point performances for the Panthers, as the team capitalized on two-of-six power plays. Florida, which scored four of its five goals in the second period, outshot the Bruins 44-33, and Luongo stopped all 33 pucks sent his way.

Last Time They Met

The Avalanche defeated the Panthers 2-1 at Pepsi Center when the teams last battled on Dec. 14, 2017. Aleksander Barkov registered the lone goal for Florida while Nathan MacKinnon notched both of Colorado's tallies, opening the scoring in the second period and finishing the clash with the game-winning goal in the third. Semyon Varlamov made 32-of-33 saves as the Panthers outshot the Avs 33-30.

What To Watch

More Mikko Milestones

Mikko Rantanen is tied for fourth in the NHL with 15 power-play points (five goals, 10 assists), which has helped the Avalanche hold the league's best success rate (32.2 percent) on the man advantage. Rantanen also extended his point streak to nine games on Tuesday after recording an assist on Tyson Barrie's goal in Pittsburgh. The stretch matches the forward's career best from earlier this year (Oct. 4-22) that tied the Avalanche record for the longest point streak to start a season. Rantanen (46 points) has either been tied or led the league outright in scoring since Oct. 23 (45 days).

Goals Galore

The Avalanche is tied for second in the league with 102 total goals scored so far during the 2018-19 season. Averaging 3.64 markers per game, 41 of Colorado's tallies have come in the third period, second only to the Calgary Flames (43). In addition, the Avs are tied for first in the NHL with 29 power-play scores.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Left Wing Matt Calvert

After registering an assist in Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh, Matt Calvert has notched nine points (three goals, six assists) over 28 games this year. Six of those points (one goal, five assists) have come when playing teams in the Eastern Conference. The forward is in his first year with Colorado but has recorded eight points (two goals, six assists) in 16 career games he's played against Florida, tied for the most points of any player on the Avalanche.

Florida: Left Wing Jonathan Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau's one goal and two assists on Tuesday extended his multi-point streak to six contests in a row. He has registered 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) since the streak began on Nov. 24 and leads the Panthers with 31 (seven goals, 24 assists) over 26 games this season. The forward notched a goal and an assist in two games against the Avalanche last year.

The Details

Thursday's matchup between the Avalanche and the Panthers is slated for 5 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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