The Colorado Avalanche are looking for a rebound victory in Florida against the Panthers after their eerie 6-3 loss to the Penguins.
The Colorado Avalanche play their third game of a four-game roadie tonight against the Florida Panthers. This halfway mark is an important threshold for the team.
Colorado is coming off a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh. They still have a winning record thanks to a hot start — 16-7-5 for 37 points. However, on the road is where they struggled last season, so on the road is where they want to win this season.
Right now, their road record is 10-5-2, and they’ve gone 7-1-2 in their last 10. So, no, things aren’t looking bad for the Colorado Avalanche. We just want them to look a little better.
Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers aren’t playing spectacularly — 11-10-5 on the season so far — but they’re also not a team to discount. They have points in their last four out of five games. What’s more, they’re coming off a 5-0 shutout victory against the Boston Bruins.
All-time, the Colorado Avalanche have done very well against the Florida Panthers, going 23-8-3-2 (ties). Last season, Colorado took both games, including a 7-2 trouncing in Florida.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: December 6, 5:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Alt , FS-F (Cats’ feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)
Team on the Rebound
This is an important game for the Colorado Avalanche. They’re doing just fine in the standings, being just behind the Nashville Predators in the Central Division. And, let’s be honest, that’s a good spot for them.
However, this four-game roadie is important. They’re on an every-other-day rhythm which the players all agree helps them get their heads into the game easily. In the next two weeks, the rhythm changes as we see an away and home back to back, couple of home games, and a home and away back-to-back. The team has four days off for Christmas before starting their every-other-day rhythm again — but on the road.
What’s more, this game in Florida is pivotal. So far, the Avalanche have split the roadie, winning one in Detroit and losing one in Pittsburgh. A win tonight tips the scales in their favor, which is important since they face the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning after this.
Finally, the team also needs to show they have an answer for bad games such as the one in Pittsburgh. “Bad game” is being a little hard. There were definite positives in the Penguins game. However, the Avs, as always, need to work on their game management.
There was another glaring weakness in the Pittsburgh game…
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We haven’t talked too much about the Colorado Avalanche goalie battle in a while. During the offseason, when GM Joe Sakic traded for and signed Philipp Grubauer, he declared that the team had “two number-one goalies now.”
Well, throughout the season, Colorado has had their usual number-one goalie, Semyon Varlamov, and a backup goalie they’re trying as a successor, Grubauer. We’ve pretty much passed the one-third point of the season, and it’s time for us to see what’s what with our goal tending situation.
Varlamov made a definite case for himself as the continuing number-one with his shutout victory in Detroit. He definitely opened up the door for the Grubauer situation with his game in Pittsburgh — six goals in 32 shots, including the first three in nine shots.
All goalies have off nights. However, Varlamov looked slow and downright pained at times. It begs the question — is he injured again? It’s true that suddenly the Avs are talking about how well Pavel Francouz is doing up in Loveland.
The Colorado Avalanche have a bad habit — they like to play down to their opponents’ level. They might beat their tough Central Division rival Predators in Nashville but lose to the Central Division basement-dwelling St. Louis Blues in Colorado.
After that wild game in Pittsburgh, the Avs can’t afford to be lackadaisical in tonight’s game. They have to show the killer instinct they showed first in LA (7-3 victory) then in Arizona (5-1 victory) tonight against the Florida Panthers.
After tonight, the Colorado Avalanche will face the Panthers only one more time, on February 25 in Denver. They travel to Tampa Bay after the game to face the Lightning on Saturday.