Saturday November 16th: Florida Panthers At Colorado Avalanche, 9:00 p.m. ET
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What is there to say about the Colorado Avalanche? How about how they finished with the second worst record in the league last year (ahead of only the Panthers), won the lottery, picked Nathan MacKinnon (who has 11 points on two goals, nine assists so far this season) and emerged this year as one of the leagues best teams? I could say that they are led by the fiery Patrick Roy, arguably the best NHL goalie of all time, who in his NHL coaching debut did this:
I could say the Avalanche have allowed only 1.76 goals per game, the second fewest in the league (the Bruins allow 1.71)and are led in net by Washington Capitals cast-off Semyon Varlamov who has been in the news recently not for his stellar play in net but for the arrest that occurred in late October where he was charged with domestic violence related charges including kidnapping and assault. Or I could say the Avalanche are a team thriving with a lineup consisting of seven players 25 and under who are making major contributions: Erik Johnson (25), Matt Duchene (22), Gabriel Landeskog (20), Jamie McGinn (25), Semyon Varlamov (25), Ryan O’Reilly (22), and Nathan MacKinnon (18). How about I just say, all of the above things have contributed to the success of an Avalanche team that has been dominant, and a bit of a circus but always fun to watch.
The Panthers have their work cut out for them in this game. Like the Wild, the Avalanche are another stingy team with good goaltending. The Panthers might not get a lot of room to breathe in these first two game of their road trip. While I am not confident in the Panthers chances, they did prove on Tuesday that they can beat a good team and a good goaltender (Frederik Anderson .943 Sv%, 1.66 GAA) so we cannot rule them out totally in Colorado.