Colorado hosts the Panthers tonight in the 4th game of a 5 game home stand (1-2 so far). Jose Theodore starts tonight for the Avs. No word on whether it will be Alex Auld or Ed Belfour in net for the Panthers. Auld started Saturday and got shelled...with Belfour getting hammered in relief.
Colorado's Magic Number is 9.
The Panthers are 14th in the Eastern Conference...but just 9 points out of the final playoff spot. Still, with 6 teams to overtake in the final two months, Florida is expected to be a seller at the deadline, with a lot of veterans hearing trade rumors - Gary Roberts, Olli Jokinen, Ed Belfour...the list goes on and on, thanks to former GM Mike Keenan's most recent franchise dismantling. Old friend Todd Bertuzzi plays for the Panthers, but is currently injured and will not play. Just plain old Gary Roberts has been injured, but may play. The Panthers are coming off a 7-0 drubbing by the Kings on Saturday.
Florida is 17th in the league in scoring (Colorado is 11th) and 24th in goals against (Avs are 15th). Florida has a dangerous powerplay - 7th in the league (Colorado is 9th) and a decent PK (14th to the Avs 25th). The Panthers are led in scoring by Jokinen (53), Jozef Stumpel (41) and Nathan Horton (38). After that, scoring drops off pretty quickly. The Panthers do have 2 defensemen to watch out for - Jay Boumeester and Ruslan Salei both have 28 points.
Karlis Skrastins will tie Tim Horton's consecutive streak for defensemen tonight...and, in true movie fashion, will trip over the blueline and break his ankle on his first shift.
Both D John-Michael Liles and LW Brad May might play tonight. A decision on each will be made this morning. Wojtek Wolski was ill on Monday and did not practice, but is expected to play.
Hot: Joe Sakic, 11 pts in the last 10 games
Not: Tyler Arnason, 4 pts, -3, last 10 GP.