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LBC GameDay Preview: Florida Panthers vs. Colorado Avalanche

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The Panthers are in Denver tonight, looking to shake their road futility and post win number two of the Peter Horachek era.

It has been awhile since the Avalanche and Panthers have met.
It has been awhile since the Avalanche and Panthers have met.
Doug Pensinger

Tonight, the Florida Panthers will visit the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO for the first of two meetings this season. The Panthers were downed last night 3-2 by the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul. It was the club's ninth-straight loss away from home. This is the second of a five-game road trip, with tilts coming against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, the lowly Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, and concluding with the Calgary Flames on Friday. New acquisition Jimmy Hayes is expected to make his Panthers debut tonight.

Colorado will be playing in the first of a two-game homestand. After tangling with Florida, the Avs will welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to Denver on Tuesday in a matchup of two of the league's top teams.

These two clubs last met on January 18, 2012, when the 21-14-9 Panthers paid a visit to the 24-21-2 Avalanche. The Cats took the lead twice but ended up falling to the Avs in overtime on a Ryan O'Reilly goal. Future Panther Peter Mueller scored twice and added an assist, while Paul Stastny accounted for the other Colorado goal. Marcel Goc, Stephen Weiss, and Tomas Kopecky lit the lamp for Florida. Defender Dmitry Kulikov picked up two helpers in the loss. The Avs' Jean-Sebastien Giguere got the best of Jose Theodore in goal. It was the Panthers seventh-straight loss on the road. * Full Recap * Box Score

In Florida's last game, the Cats came back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period, but ultimately dropped a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild. Zach Parise and Jason Pominville scored in the first period to stake the Wild to the two-goal advantage. Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Huberdeau evened the game with third period markers before Charlie Coyle notched the game-winner with 8:22 left in regulation time. Josh Harding upped his record at home to 9-0, making 22 saves. Tim Thomas turned aside 17 shots and fell to 3-6 on the season. * Full Recap * Box Score

Colorado's last outing would see the visiting Avalanche soundly thumped 7-3 on Thursday night by the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. Alexander Steen scored twice for the Blues, who also got goals from Derek Roy, David Backes, Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Stewart, and our old pal Jay Bouwmeester. Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, and Ryan O'Reilly were the Avalanche scorers. Jaroslav Halak picked up win in goal for the Blues, while Semyon Varlamov got tagged with the loss in relief. * Full Recap * Box Score

Game Time: 9:00 PM ET

Broadcast: FS-F, ALT 2

All-Time Series:
Florida is 8-15-3-3 against the Avalanche, for a 37.9% point acquisition rate.

Season Series: First of two meetings.

Standings


Florida Panthers: 4-12-4, .300, 12 points, on pace for 49 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference, 28th in the NHL. Last Five: L-L-L-W-L.

Colorado Avalance: 14-4-0, .778, 28 points, on pace for 128 points. Tied for second in the Central Division, tied for fifth in the Western Conference, tied for fifth in the NHL. Last Five: W-O-W-W-L.

Probable Starting Lineups


Panthers

Forwards

  • Johnathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Tomas Fleischmann
  • Scottie Upshall - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes
  • Tomas Kopecky - Marcel Goc - Jesse Winchester
  • Sean Bergenheim - Shawn Matthias - Jimmy Hayes

Defensemen

  • Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert
  • Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
  • Erik Gudbranson - Mike Mottau

Goaltenders

  • Tim Thomas - Scott Clemmensen


Avalanche

Forwards

  • Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - P.A. Parenteau
  • Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Jamie McGinn
  • John Mitchell - Nathan Mackinnon - Maxime Talbot
  • Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Patrick Bordeleau

Defensemen

  • Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
  • Matt Hunwick - Cory Sarich
  • Nick Holden - Nate Guenin

Goaltenders

  • Semyon Varlamov (starter) - J.S. Giguere

Panthers Leaders

Goals: Brad Boyes - 6, Marcel Goc - 5, Aleksander Barkov, Jesse Winchester, Jonathan Huberdeau - 4
Assists: Tomas Fleischmann - 9, Brian Campbell - 8, Jonathan Huberdeau - 6
Points: Tomas Fleischmann - 12, Brian Campbell - 10, Jonathan Huberdeau - 10
Faceoffs: Marcel Goc (196-for-360) - 54.4%, Nick Bjugstad (89-for-175) - 50.9%, Jesse Winchester (22-for-46) - 47.8%
Shots-on-Goal: Tomas Fleischmann - 49, Tomas Kopecky - 43, Kris Versteeg - 47
Hits: Erik Gudbranson - 51, Mike Weaver - 48, Shawn Matthias - 36
Blocked Shots: Mike Weaver - 45, Erik Gudbranson - 35, Tom Gilbert - 31

Tonight's contest starts at 9 PM, so join us here at 8:30 for some pre-game festivities on the LBC GameThread. For a Rocky Mountain high and some Avs enlightenment, pay a visit to our friends over at Mile High Hockey.