Another Floridian team, but in very different circumstances.
The Colorado Avalanche play host to the Florida Panthers Tuesday night on the national stage. Back at the beginning of 2022, this would have been a highly-anticipated matchup and one which could’ve been a possible Stanley Cup Final preview.
Now, both teams sit outside of the playoffs and are clawing for any points they can get. Hence, this matchup between the Avs and Cats is bigger in a different way than expected.
The Avs have finally shrugged off their five-game losing streak. Thanks to some incredible work from Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, the Avs managed to knock off the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime Saturday night.
The win could be season-changing, as it was a necessity to come out and perform. Now, they look to stay on the winning track as they return to Ball Arena. The changes in the lineup seemed to have made an impact as well, especially the return of Evan Rodrigues.
Rodrigues returned and allowed Jared Bednar to shuffle the lines around a little bit. This included moving Mikko Rantanen to move down and play with J.T. Compher and giving the Avs a little more substance than being a first-line team. They’ll look to continue to build off of the big win and make it two straight wins early in 2023.
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Evan Rodrigues (9)
Alex Newhook (18) - J.T. Compher (37) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Darren Helm (43) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Ben Meyers (59) - Martin Kaut (61)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6)
Andreas Englund (88) - Brad Hunt (17)
The Panthers are coming off a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars on Sunday afternoon. Tuesday night’s affair will be the third of a four-game road trip for the Cats.
Florida last year had the makings of being a Stanley Cup champion. Their names and style of electric play moving forward at will seemed unstoppable. But, before you know it, their Presidents Trophy win hurt them as they were swept in the second round by the eventual Eastern Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Playing the little brother role to the team up North in Florida has to anger the Panthers. Therefore, they brought in a new big face: Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames. Going the other way were some big losses though, including MacKenzie Weegar and Johnathan Huberdeau. However, Tkachuk and company will look to get back to winning ways against the champs.
Anton Lindell (15) - Aleksander Barkov (16) - Sam Reinhart (13)
Carter Verhaeghe (23) - Sam Bennett (9) - Matthew Tkachuk (19)
Nick Cousins (21) - Erik Staal (12) - Eetu Luostarinen (27)
Ryan Lomberg (94) - Colin White (6) - Givani Smith (54)
Gustav Forsling (42) - Aaron Ekblad (5)
Marc Staal (18) - Brandon Montour (62)
Josh Mahura (28) - Radko Gudas (7)
We will see a similar face in net for the Avs with Alexandar Georgiev in the crease. However, it seems as if Pavel Francouz is backing him up as he was putting in a good effort in morning skate. The Panthers will be going with Spencer Knight over Sergei Bobrovsky.