Florida Panthers Faceoff Against Avs With Hopes of Two Straight Wins

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche battles with Evgenii Dadonov #63 of the Florida Panthers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Panthers 2-1. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche battles with Evgenii Dadonov #63 of the Florida Panthers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Panthers 2-1. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tonight at 7:00 P.M., the Florida Panthers will host the Colorado Avalanche at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

This will be the first of two contests this season between the two. They’ll play again on February 25th at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

The Florida Panthers are playing in the seventh game of a season-high, eight-game homestand. They dropped a 5-4 overtime match to the Chicago Blackhawks to start things out on November 24th. Two days later, they used extra time to dispatch the New Jersey Devils, 4-3.

The Panthers lost in regulation to the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2 last Wednesday, followed with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, and lost a 5-4 overtime match to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

In their last game, Roberto Luongo returned to the crease to shutout the Boston Bruins, 5-0. The Panthers will close out the stand on Saturday against the New York Rangers.

Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, FL – DECEMBER 4: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers makes a glove save in their 5-0 shut out over the Boston Bruins at the BB&T Center on December 4, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Avalanche are appearing in the third game of a four-game road trip. They defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 2-0 on Sunday and dropped a 6-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. After tonight, they’ll face the Lightning at Amalie Center.

When Last We Met

The last time the Florida Panthers played the Avs was on December 14th last season. With 13,096 on hand at the Pepsi Center, Colorado authored a 2-1 victory despite allowing Aleksander Barkov (11) a short-handed goal.

Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, FL – DECEMBER 1: Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB&T Center on December 1, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Jared McCann completed the Panthers scoresheet with a lone assist on Barkov’s marker. Goaltender James Reimer surrendered both goals on 30 shots-on-goal for a tough-luck loss.

"“Their goalie was pretty good and so was ours. We had a lot of chances, they just scored more goals.” – Barkov, on NHL.COM as quoted by Rick Sadowski"

Read more about the Avs at Mile High Sticking

Panthers Last

In the Florida Panthers last game, Luongo shut out the interloping Boston Bruins despite 33 shots on net. The effort moved the 39-year-old netminder into sole possession of ninth on the all-time NHL list. 12,058 were in the house at BB&T Center for the milestone.

Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, FL – NOVEMBER 30: Jonathan Huberdeau #11 of the Florida Panthers skates for position against the Buffalo Sabres at the BB&T Center on November 30, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

While Luongo was stopping everything hit his way, Florida’s offense was exploding. Mike Hoffman (13, 14) scored twice and Jonathan Huberdeau (7) scored a goal with two assists. Mike Matheson (2) and Evgeni Dadonov (13) also lit the lamp for the good guys.

Barkov pitched in three assists, Keith Yandle contributed two, and Colton Sceviour closed out the Panthers scoresheet with a helper as well.

"“His rebound control was amazing. There was a lot of second and third rebounding; he didn’t leave a lot laying around in the crease. I’m happy for [Luongo]; he moved into ninth all time and he did it in nice fashion.” – Florida coach Bob Boughner, per Alain Poupart on NHL.COM."

Check out Causeway Crowd for full Boston Bruins coverage. 

In Colorado’s last game, the Penguins fed them a 6-3 loser sandwich in front of 18,415 at PPG Paints Arena.

Tyson Barrie (PP, 4), Matthew Nieto (SH, 3), and Carl Soderberg (9) lit the lamp for the Avalanche. Gabriel Bourque, Matt Calvert, Ian Cole, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen provided assists, and goalie Semyon Varlamov allowed all six goals on 26 shots for an in-game .813 save percentage.

Florida Panthers
PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 04: Patric Hornqvist #72 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his second goal of the game during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at PPG Paints Arena on December 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Patric Hornqvist, who scored a hat trick in 2:47 of the third period, was upbeat after the game:

"“It’s a great third period, and just keep building every single day from this day on. We’ll be fine. … The two last [goals], they were lucky ones. So you have one of those days sometimes where the puck is just coming right on your stick and you don’t think, you shoot.” – Hornqvist, as quoted by Wes Crosby on NHL.COM."

You can read more about the Pens at Pens Labyrinth.

All-Time Series

In 39 games between the Panthers and Avalanche, Colorado owns a 13-20-3-3 edge, not counting the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. Florida’s .410 points percentage is their fifth worst against an NHL opponent.

This Day in History

In seven games on December 6th, the Florida Panthers own a 2-3-2 record. They’ve never faced Colorado on this date. In their most recent victory, they topped the Sabres, 3-2 in 2014.

In that contest, Nick Bjugstad (11) had a goal and an assist, while Brad Boyes (5) and Tomas Kopecky (1) also lit the lamp. Aaron Ekblad assisted on all three goals. Tomas Fleischmann and Jussi Jokinen also finished with helpers. Luongo stopped 26-of-28 shots for the victory.

Read more about Buffalo at Sabre Noise.


Florida Panthers: 11-10-5, .519 points percentage, 27 points, on pace for 85 points. Sixth in the Atlantic Division, tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 20th in the NHL. Last Five: W-L-W-O-W. Playoff Odds: 29.9%.

Colorado Avalanche: 16-7-5, .661 points percentage, 37 points, on pace for 108 points. Third in the Central Division, third in the Western Conference, fifth in the NHL. Last Five: W-W-O-W-L. Playoff Odds: 97.0%.

Starting Lineup (courtesy of dailyfaceoff.com)

Florida Panthers



1 (unconfirmed)

Colorado Avalanche

Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Rantanen
Tyson JostJ.T. CompherColin Wilson
Nieto – Soderberg – Calvert
Vladislav KamenevAlexander Kerfoot – Bourque

Samuel GirardErik Johnson
Cole – Barrie
Patrik NemethNikita Zadorov

Varlamov (unconfirmed)

Injury Report (courtesy of hockey-reference.com)

Florida Panthers

Bjugstad is questionable after taking that headshot in the Bruins game.

Derek MacKenzie is on the IR with a shoulder problem.

Denis Malgin is doubtful with an upper body injury.

McGinn may or may not be back this season.

Vincent Trocheck is out with a fractured right ankle, and insists he’ll be back this season. It can’t happen soon enough.

Colorado Avalanche

Mark Barberio is on the IR with an upper body injury.

Conor Timmins is suffering from concussion-like symptoms.


Florida Panthers

Goals: Ekblad is tied in 18th on the all-time Panthers list with 58 goals, with Kristian Huselius. Bjugstad is one short of 13th on the same list, with 86 behind David Booth.

Assists: Huberdeau needs one assist to tie Scott Mellanby in fourth on the all-time list with 197.

Points: Ekblad will move out of a tie for 19th all-time with Tomas Fleischmann with his next point, number 146. Huberdeau, now in fourth all-time, needs two to reach the 300 mark. Next up on the list, Mellanby with 354.

Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, FL – DECEMBER 1: Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB&T Center on December 1, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Colorado Avalanche

Games: MacKinnon will tie Mario Marois in 29th all-time on the Quebec Nordiques/Avalanche leaderboard by playing in his 403rd game with the team. Landeskog will tie Dale Hunter in 16th with his 535th appearance.

Goals: Soderberg is tied for 50th with Robbie Ftorek with 43 goals with the franchise. Two more will tie him in 49th with John Mitchell. Johnson, with 52, is tied in 48th with Chris Stewart. Jeff Brown is next, with 53. Barrie, with 65 goals, will tie Cody McLeod with his next, moving him into a tie for 39th. Landeskog will move into a tie for 10th all-time with his next. Paul Stastny is one up on him, with 160.

Florida Panthers
PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 04: Colorado Avalanche Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) forechecks during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Colorado Avalanche on December 4, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Assists: Johnson is tied in 31st with Marc Tardif with 128. Landeskog and MacKinnon each have 213, tying them in 12th all-time. Valeri Kamensky is in 11th, with 248.

Stat Leaders

Florida Panthers

Games: Bjugstad, Ekblad, Yandle, Barkov, Hoffman, Dadonov, Huberdeau – 26

Goals: Hoffman – 14, Dadonov – 13, Barkov – 10

Assists: Huberdeau – 24, Yandle – 21, Barkov – 16

Points: Huberdeau – 31, Dadonov – 27, Barkov, Hoffman – 26

Plus-Minus: Sceviour +3, Malgin, Ekblad +2

Shots-on-Goal: Hoffman – 102, Dadonov – 77, Barkov – 72

Takeaways: Barkov – 45, Hoffman – 25, Matheson – 18

Hits: Petrovic – 67, Troy Brouwer – 51, MacKenzie Weegar – 41

Blocked Shots: Matheson – 36, Petrovic – 33, Weegar – 31

Faceoff Win Percentage: Barkov – 54.0%, Trocheck – 53.9%, Bjugstad – 50.8%, McCann – 44.1%, Juho Lammikko – 43.6%

More from Panthers News

Colorado Avalanche

Games: Cole, Johnson, Calvert, Samuel Girard, Kerfoot, Soderberg, Landeskog, MacKinnon, Rantanen – 28

Goals: MacKinnon – 19, Landeskog – 16, Rantanen – 11

Assists: Rantanen – 35, MacKinnon – 24, Barrie – 17

Points: Rantanen – 46, MacKinnon – 43, Landeskog – 31

Plus-Minus: Landeskog +18, Rantanen +15, MacKinnon +12

Shots-on-Goal: MacKinnon – 119, Landeskog – 79, Rantanen – 64

Takeaways: Rantanen – 16, MacKinnon, Soderberg, Landeskog – 14

Hits: Zadorov – 70, Johnson – 45, Bourque – 43

Blocked Shots: Cole – 80, Patrik Nemeth – 46, Johnson – 37

Faceoff Win Percentage: Kerfoot – 57.3%, Landeskog – 54.8%, Soderberg – 46.4%, MacKinnon – 39.1%


Florida Panthers
WASHINGTON – FEBRUARY 7: Center Olli Jokinen #12 of the Florida Panthers looks to make a pass around defenseman Shaone Morrisonn #26 of the Washington Capitals during their NHL game on February 7, 2006 at MCI Center in Washington, DC. The Panthers won 5-0. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Former Florida Panthers Niklas Hagman (39) and Olli Jokinen (40) have birthdays today.

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