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Panthers aim to extend Avalanche's scoring woes

by Rick Sadowski

PANTHERS (1-2-2) at AVALANCHE (1-4-1)


DENVER -- Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant is aware the Colorado Avalanche have struggled to score goals this season -- nine in six games -- and is hopeful they won't break out Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

"They haven't scored a lot but they have the potential to score a lot of goals," Gallant said after an optional morning skate. "With their talent and the skill over there it's just a matter of time, so hopefully it's not [Tuesday]."

The Panthers are in a similar situation with five goals in five games, but they've been getting strong goaltending from Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya while playing solid team defense. Montoya made 26 saves Saturday when the Panthers began a three-game trip with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. Luongo, who will play Tuesday, has turned aside 48 of 49 shots in his past two starts.

"Hopefully we'll keep playing our game and shut them down and play a real solid game," Gallant said. "They're a dangerous team like Washington is a dangerous team. We have to make sure we're playing our game. We're working hard, we're having good gaps, not giving odd-man rushes. I think if we keep playing that way we'll have a chance to win every night."

Colorado goalie Reto Berra, who sustained a neck injury and had to leave early in the first period Thursday against the Ottawa Senators, has recovered and will start.

The Avalanche are coming off a 1-2-1 trip and playing their second home game of the season.

"It'd be good to get back on the winning side at home here," center Matt Duchene said. "It's still early but we have to bear down here and make sure we get on the right track, just finding goals at the right time. Offense for us is a contagious thing and we've only had one game where we scored three goals and we got them all in one period [in a 5-3 loss to the Senators]. Once we start scoring like we can, and consistently, our team defense will keep getting better and more comfortable with the puck."

Here are the projected lineups:


Sean Bergenheim - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes

Jussi Jokinen - Brandon Pirri - Tomas Fleischmann

Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Scottie Upshall

Tomas Kopecky - Derek MacKenzie - Jimmy Hayes

Brian Campbell - Aaron Ekblad

Willie Mitchell - Dmitry Kulikov

Dylan Olsen - Erik Gudbranson

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Scratched: Colby Robak

Injured: Dave Bolland (lower body), Shawn Thornton (lower body)


Alex Tanguay - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Nathan MacKinnon

Jamie McGinn - John Mitchell - Daniel Briere

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Maxime Talbot

Nick Holden - Erik Johnson

Jan Hejda - Tyson Barrie

Brad Stuart - Ryan Wilson

Reto Berra

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Sami Aittokallio, Nate Guenin, Zach Redmond

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Status report: The Avalanche expect to activate Varlamov from injured reserve Wednesday and start him Friday against Vancouver, with Aittokallio and Pickard being reassigned to Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. … Winchester took part in on-ice drills for the second day in a row while wearing a red non-contact jersey. He hasn't played since he sustained a concussion in a Sept. 30 preseason game against the Calgary Flames and is on injured reserve. Roy said he might be able to return in about a week. "He still has some symptoms," he said. "He's back to baseline but in the afternoon he has headaches."

Who's hot: Luongo has gone 12-0-2 in his past 14 decisions against Colorado. … Bergenheim and Boyes each have one goal and one assist in two-game scoring streaks for the Panthers. ... Tanguay has a goal in each of the past two Avalanche games. ... Mitchell has a two-game scoring streak with a goal and an assist.

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