Looking to sweep the inter-conference series after winning the first contest 5-4 in overtime at Florida, the Colorado Avalanche welcomes the Florida Panthers for Round 2 in Denver on Wednesday.
In the first meeting, Nathan MacKinnon wristed the game-winner in the extra frame after Andre Burakovsky tied the game twice earlier in the night during his three-point outing. The Panthers held a 3-1 lead after the first period, but Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 of Florida's 27 shots after the opening stanza.
Fast forward to Oct. 30, the Avs are 8-2-1 and tied for first place in the Western Conference, while the Panthers are 5-3-4, eighth in the East. Colorado is coming off its first home loss at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. Florida, meanwhile, lost 7-2 on Monday to the Vancouver Canucks.
Florida is Colorado's first opponent to finish its season series with the Avs in 2019-20.
Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Joonas Donskoi was a fourth-round pick (99th overall) of the Panthers in 2010... Joel Quenneville was Colorado's head coach from 2005-08 and was an assistant on the Avalanche's 1996 Stanley Cup team... Florida assistant coach Andrew Brunette played three seasons with the Avalanche from 2005-2008... Mark Barberio and Panthers forward Brett Connolly played together in the Tampa Bay Lightning's systems from 2012-15… Nikita Zadorov and Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk were teammates briefly on the Buffalo Sabres in 2014-15 … Nathan MacKinnon and Aleksander Barkov were drafted first and second overall to the Avalanche and Panthers, respectively, in the 2013 NHL Draft... Jayson Megna was born in Fort Lauderdale.
The Avalanche is 25-10-7 all-time against the Panthers and has won four of its last five meetings with Florida. Colorado won the last contest earlier this year, 5-4 in overtime. on Oct. 18, as Nathan MacKinnon scored his seventh career regular-season overtime tally. Andre Burakovsky recorded two goals and an assist that night, while Joonas Donskoi also had a three-point game (one goal, two assists).
Jayson Megna is expected to play his first game as a member of the Avalanche after the team recalled him from the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles on Tuesday afternoon… Nathan MacKinnon centered a line with Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi at practice on Tuesday and Tyson Jost was between wingers Andre Burakovsky and J.T. Compher.
Gabriel Landeskog is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, the Avalanche announced Tuesday … Mikko Rantanen, who's missed the last two games in Vegas and against the Ducks with a lower-body injury, did not skate on Tuesday and remains week-to-week… Colin Wilson left Tuesday's practice early and will not be available to play against Florida.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
Florida (5-3-4) is coming off its most lopsided loss of the season on Monday, falling 7-2 against the Canucks, one day after its most dominant win, 6-2 over the Edmonton Oilers. Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are tied for the team lead with 13 points each through the first 12 games of the campaign.
This season the Panthers have allowed an average of 3.75 goals per game, the third most in the NHL, but they've been able to mitigate the damage with high-powered offense, totaling 18 third-period goals, tied for the second-most in the NHL. Since the Avalanche's 5-4 OT win over the Panthers, Florida is 3-1-1 with a 25-percent power play (two goals on eight opportunities) and a 76.9-percent penalty kill, surrendering three goals on its last 13 shorthanded situations.
OPPOSING PLAYER TO WATCH: JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
Jonathan Huberdeau is tied with Aleksander Barkov for the team lead in points with 13 (five goals, 13 assists), including recording seven points (four goals, three assists) in Florida's last six games.
Huberdeau scored two goals in the first period of the game against the Avs on Oct. 18 to propel the Panthers to a 3-1 lead after one frame. In 10 career games against Colorado, Huberdeau has seven points (four goals, three assists).
With 10 points this season (one goal, nine assists) Cale Makar is tied for the NHL lead in points among rookies and leads the pack in assists. His nine helpers set a new Avalanche record for the most assists by a rookie defenseman in a single month.
Nathan MacKinnon has recorded at least one point in each of the Avalanche's first 11 games this season, the franchise's longest season-opening point streak since it moved to Denver in 1995. He's also the only NHL player to produce a point in every game so far in 2019-20.
The Avalanche has scored 15 goals in the first period, tied for the third most in the league.
Nathan MacKinnon and Aleksander Barkov were drafted No. 1 and 2 overall in the 2013 NHL Draft; MacKinnon has the most points in the draft class with 417 (161 goals, 256 assists) while Barkov ranks third with 358 (135 goals, 223 assists) … The Panthers have scored an NHL-second most 18 third-period goals (tied) but the Avalanche has allowed an NHL-second fewest six goals in the final frame … The Avalanche is tied for first in the league averaging 4.00 goals per game and are tied for fourth with a plus-14 goal differential.