AVALANCHE (31-13-5) at PANTHERS (20-23-7)
7:30 PM ET; TV: FOX Sports Network; RADIO: 560 AM
Last 10: Colorado 7-2-1; Florida 5-3-2
SERIES CLOSE OUT: The Panthers and Avs meet for the second time this season and the Cats look to sweep the season series after taking a 4-1 victory in Colorado in early November. This game unfortunately won't see the battle between the top two picks in this last season's draft as Panthers rookie center Aleksander Barkov will miss the game with a lower body injury. Florida fans will see the top rookie scorer in No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon and the rest of his teammates at the BB&T Center however. A win would give the Panthers two wins in the season series for the first time in franchise history, even dating back to when the Avs were the Quebec Nordiques.
THREE SPOT: Florida's offensive surge in single period has continued of late. After posting just three goals in a period once in their first 45 games, the offense has struck quickly as they have recorded three three-goal periods in their last five games including in back-to-back periods against the Penguins (third) and Sabres (first).
HOT STREAKS: Rookie forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad are picking up the offense as the Panthers young guns sit on three-game point streaks. Huberdeau has posted four points (1-3-4) over that span while slick Nick has posted three (1-2-3), including his team leading third game-winning goal in the second period against Buffalo. Forward Jesse Winchester has also been great since coming back from injury, posting four points (1-3-4) in the back-to-back wins over the Penguins and Sabres.
SINCE DECEMBER: Florida has been one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference since the calendar hit December. After opening the month with a loss against Winnipeg, the Cats have gone on to a 13-7-2 record, earning 28 points along the way.
FOLLOW THE LEADER: It's been great to see captain Ed Jovanovski back on the ice and JovoCop has been producing since returning from injury nine games ago. Jovo has already had two two-point nights, including a goal and an assist in his 1,100th career NHL game in Buffalo on Tuesday. The captain sits just one point shy of 500 for his NHL career.