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Morning Skate Report: Nemeth Set for 200th NHL Game

The defenseman has played 91 games with Colorado

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

SUNRISE, Fla.--Another milestone outing is in store for one of the members of the Colorado Avalanche tonight. This time it is Patrik Nemeth's turn as he will skate in the 200th game of his NHL career this evening at the Florida Panthers.

The Stockholm, Sweden, native has 32 points (four goals, 28 assists) in his career and three points (one goal, two assists) in 23 contests so far this campaign.

"It's fun obviously to have 200 games, but I want to play way more," the blueliner said of the milestone. "You gain experience and that is what I am trying to keep doing here."

Video: Nemeth on playing his 200th NHL game

Forward Nathan MacKinnon skated in his 400th contest on Nov. 30 against the St. Louis Blues, the same night J.T. Compher reached his first century mark. Second-year defenseman Samuel Girard also reached the 100-games-played milestone on Dec. 2 at the Detroit Red Wings.

Nemeth played his first 108 outings with the Dallas Stars before Colorado claimed him on waivers right before the 2017-18 season began. 

Last year, he led Colorado and ranked fourth among NHL rear guards with a plus-27 rating, the highest by an Avs player since 2003-04 when Alex Tanguay was a plus-30 and the best by a team defenseman since Adam Foote was a plus-30 in 2002-03.

During that campaign, he set career highs in almost every category with 15 points, three goals, 12 assists and 68 games.

 "I am a little bit more consistent at times, a little bit more confident at times," he said of how he has improved since joining Colorado. "There are still a lot of things to improve and that is what I am trying to do every day here."

Nemeth and the Avs will have to be sound defensively against Florida. The Panthers have scored 12 times in their last three games and are 3-1-2 in their last six outings. 

"They are a dangerous team. [Our] commitment to track and reload and get above pucks is going to be the key, it always is for us. It's one of the staples of our identity," head coach Jared Bednar said of Florida following the team's morning skate at BB&T Center. "If you look at their team, they are dangerous. They had a little bit of a slow start, but now they are starting to find their game and they are starting to come along. 

"Their goaltending has been good, but they got a bunch of weapons over there, both upfront and then they get the help from the backend… It's not just our defensemen's job to shut these guys down, we will have to have a full commitment from all five guys on the ice all night."

Video: Bednar before the Avs take on the Panthers 

GRUBI IN NET

Goaltender Philipp Gruabuer will be between this pipes for the Colorado Avalanche this evening as the team continues its East Coast road trip at the Florida Panthers.

The German netminder is 6-0-2 in his last eight starts, one point shy of his longest streak without a regulation loss (7-0-2 in 2016-17).

He made 22 saves in his last outing, a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 28 at Pepsi Center.

View: Avalanche Projected Lineup at Panthers

ROAD WARRIORS

Tonight's game will be Colorado's 18th as the visiting team this season. The Avalanche is 10-5-2 on the road, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the most away points in the NHL (22).

"I like getting out on the road early in the season while you kind of find yourself as a team and establish your identity," said Bednar. "I think for us more so this year because last year we didn't like our road record. It was a key focus for us to make sure we improve that, so it gives us and opportunity right out of the gate to play a bunch of road games. It also sets you up with your schedule at home later on in the season."

The Avs posted their 10th road win of season to begin their current four-city trip on Dec. 2 at the Detroit Red Wings. The team is the second fastest Avalanche squad to reach 10 road wins in a season behind only the 2013-14 club (13 games).

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