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Preview: Putting off the Panthers

The Avs’ fourth road game of this trip is a big one in Sunrise.

Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The road trip goes on, this time with the Colorado Avalanche visiting sunny South Florida. Saturday night sees them match up with yet another tough Eastern Conference opponent, the Florida Panthers.

Perhaps a little sunshine will warm up the Avalanche both off and on the ice. They need any sort of turnaround, and a big game against last season’s Eastern Conference Champions could do just that.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs are on a three-game slide at the moment, with their last loss coming Thursday night at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. Martin Necas recorded his first hat trick, a natural one in the first period which was enough to put down the Avs.

Part of the losses for the Avs has been a lack of powerplay success. They are 0-for-12 in their previous attempts on this road trip, going 0-for-6 in Carolina alone.

Nathan MacKinnon and company will not be happy and looking for any sort of rebound in this game. Getting pucks to the net will be key against another fiercely competitive team. Will the Avs find their competitive spirit to give themselves a shot at glory?

Projected Lines

Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Jonathan Drouin (27) - Ross Colton (20) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Miles Wood (28) - Ryan Johansen (12) - Zach Parise (9)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Fredrik Olofsson (22) - Joel Kiviranta (94)

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Sam Girard (49) - Josh Manson (42)
Jack Johnson (3) - Bowen Byram (4)

Florida Panthers

Florida won their last game against the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Thursday night. It was a much-needed win after dropping the previous game at home against the surprisingly good Philadelphia Flyers.

The Panthers are in a so-called slump in their season, going 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. Some of those losses have been far from ideal, against the likes of the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, and Detroit Red Wings.

They’ll be looking to lead the line with the always-gritty Matthew Tkachuk. Plus, they’ll be leaning on Sergei Bobrovsky, who got the best of MacKinnon at the All-Star Weekend last weekend. Will they combine to give Florida their second straight win on “Vamos Gatos” night?

Projected Lines

Carter Verhaeghe (23) - Aleksander Barkov (16) - Sam Reinhart (13)
Nick Cousins (21) - Sam Bennett (9) - Matthew Tkachuk (19)
Eetu Luostarinen (27) - Anton Lundell (15) - Evan Rodrigues (17)
Jonah Gadjovich (12) - Kevin Stenlund (82) - Ryan Lomberg (94)

Gustav Forsling (42) - Aaron Ekblad (5)
Niko Mikkola (77) - Brandon Montour (62)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (91) - Dmitry Kulikov (7)

Goaltenders

We will see each team’s respective No. 1 netminder, Alexandar Georgiev on his 28th birthday and the aforementioned Bobrovsky.