It’s Game Day, guys! And even better, it’s game day against a team that Colorado managed to handily beat just a week ago.
When the Avalanche arrived in southern Florida to face off against the Panthers, they were a struggling group just coming off the realization that they were losing veteran starting goaltender Roberto Luongo for the forseeable future.
The Avalanche themselves had been struggling as well, but managed to rally to defeat their Atlantic Division opponents by a final decision of 7-3.
Now, they’ll look to recapture some of that offensive magic again as they skate out on the heels of a 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.
- Semyon Varlamov has been getting heat from the fans and media alike for yet another season - and while it’s a bit unfair to blame the entire thing on his mental abilities, it’s hard to deny that he’s been less-than-stellar. He’s doing better than last year, boasting a .903 (whereas he finished his shortened campaign last year with a sub-.900 save percentage altogether), but he’s far from hitting league average at this point.
- On the other side of the ice, James Reimer has been struggling even more than Varlamov is - which is good news for the Avalanche, if bad news for the Panthers. He has almost as many Really Bad Stars per Rob Vollman’s metric as he does Quality Starts, and sits at a .894 save percentage after putting up excellent numbers last year. Colorado just needs to hope he won’t bounce back just in time to beat them.
- The biggest thing for Colorado to watch out for is Aleksander Barkov. He missed the last meeting of the two teams with concussion symptoms, but he’s back and ready to go - and as the top line center for Florida, his return is clearly a positive on their end.