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Avalanche Getting Healthy, Start Trip vs. Panthers

Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 1:45 PM

Brian Hunter |

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Avalanche Getting Healthy, Start Trip vs. Panthers
Colorado Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers

AVALANCHE (31-13-5) at PANTHERS (20-23-7)

TV: Altitude, FS-Florida

Last 10: Colorado 7-2-1; Florida 5-3-2

Season series: This is the second of two games between the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. Tom Gilbert assisted on three goals and Tim Thomas made 32 saves as Florida won 4-1 in Colorado on Nov. 16.

Big story: One of the top offenses in the NHL will likely get another weapon back Friday, as veteran forward Alex Tanguay is expected to return to the Avalanche lineup after missing 36 games due to knee and hip injuries. Even without Tanguay for most of the season, Colorado has clicked to the tune of 2.88 goals per game, sixth in the League entering Thursday.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: This is the start of a three-game road trip in a four-day span for Colorado, beginning with the two games in Florida over the weekend and ending Monday at the Dallas Stars. The Avalanche has only played three road games this month but they've won them all, averaging four goals per contest.

Although Colorado is coming off a 5-2 home loss Tuesday to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the game did feature the return of forward PA Parenteau, who played his first game since Dec. 29 and assisted on the first of two goals by Nathan MacKinnon.

Tanguay is going to take part in the team's morning skate practice on Friday before a decision is made on if he will play that night.

"We've gone through a rough patch with injuries and we've still managed to play some pretty good hockey and managed to pull out some wins," forward Gabriel Landeskog said. "Getting these guys back gives us even more offensive power and depth. They're certainly going to help us on the power play and to spread the scoring a little bit as well. They're pretty hungry and eager to get back."

Panthers: Fresh off a three-game trip of its own, Florida gets a quick pit stop back at BB&T Center before heading right back out on the road for the next four. The Panthers followed up a dominant effort in a 5-1 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday by edging the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 the following night to string consecutive victories together for the first time since taking five straight from Dec. 10-19.

Veteran defenseman Ed Jovanovski, in his ninth game back from a career-threatening hip injury, scored his first goal since April 5, 2012 and added an assist against the Sabres.

"He cares and wants to win, but he also wants to have fun, and that's been important to us too," defenseman Brian Campbell said in the Miami Herald. "He loves being in this locker room. Time goes pretty fast and this can go away pretty quick. I think it's a good lesson for everyone. He loves what this is."

Who's hot: MacKinnon has consecutive multi-point games for the Avalanche and leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (33). … Panthers forward Jesse Winchester has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. Forward Jonathan Huberdeau has one goal and three assists during a three-game point streak.

Injury report: Defenseman Nate Guenin (ankle) could return for Colorado on the road trip. Defenseman Cory Sarich (back) remains on injured reserve. John Mitchell (illness) was not on the team flight to South Florida but is expected to play on the road trip … Florida forward Aleksander Barkov (lower body) is day-to-day after he left in the second period against Buffalo. Defensemen Dylan Olsen (lower body) and Alex Petrovic (upper body) are on injured reserve.

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 24 '14 COL 3 at FLA 2 J. McGinn
Nov 16 '13 FLA 4 at COL 1 B. Campbell
M. Duchene47172643+41754
G. Landeskog49142337+103323
P. Stastny46142337+82022
R. O'Reilly48191635+5054
N. MacKinnon50171633+51874
P. Parenteau4091625-11801
E. Johnson5071320+123720
J. McGinn4711718+42112
J. Mitchell4941418+51611
A. Benoit4921618-41201
M. Talbot5051015+12301
J. Hejda466814+142000
T. Barrie335813+61622
N. Holden234711+0801
A. Tanguay143710+8401
C. McLeod45279+38700
C. Sarich42189+23400
S. Downie11167+43611
P. Bordeleau50426+25001
M. Cliche44055-31300
R. Wilson19055+31200
N. Guenin38044+01400
B. Malone15022-1200
K. Stollery2000+1200
D. Van Der Gulik2000+0000
M. Hunwick1000+0000
S. Varlamov4025-9-59212412.38.926
J. Giguere137-4-0313562.59.913
A. Barkov5081624-1831
S. Upshall4591423+45310
B. Boyes49121022+21421
T. Fleischmann5051722-51211
T. Gilbert5122022-31411
J. Huberdeau4981321-12221
B. Campbell5151621+01222
N. Bjugstad4511920-21203
M. Goc519918-62701
S. Bergenheim3611516-11832
J. Winchester296713+22700
S. Matthias505510-21200
T. Kopecky434610+11400
D. Kulikov50459-74500
D. Olsen17369+4400
E. Gudbranson46257-77600
K. Versteeg18257-9900
J. Hayes28415-1800
S. Gomez22145-81400
E. Jovanovski10134+4800
D. Shore14303+0201
M. Weaver47033-102100
K. Barch34033-66200
M. Gilroy16112-2600
M. Mottau7000-2400
R. Whitney6000-7400
A. Petrovic5000+4600
J. Crabb1000+0000
T. Thomas3113-14-3789302.61.916
S. Clemmensen136-4-1323292.74.903
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