The Central Division meets the Atlantic Division this evening as the Colorado Avalanche rumble with the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center in Sunrise Florida. The Avs enter this game off a 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh, while the Panthers are off a 5-0 home win over the Bruins. The Avalanche won both meetings last year.
Colorado Fallas To Struggling Pittsburgh
The Colorado Avalanche have been playing well of late, while the Penguins have been heading in the other direction. Last week, the Avs took down the Pens at home by a score of 6-3, and Pittsburgh returned the favor with a 6-3 on Tuesday evening. The Avs have now lost two of their last three games, after ripping off six wins in a row. Colorado is now two points behind the Predators for first place in the Central Division. Colorado was down 3-0 after one against the Penguins but was able to tie it at 3-3 after two. The 3rd period belonged to Pittsburgh. Scoring in the loss was Tyson Barrie, which was his 4th of the year, Carl Soderberg, which was his 9th and Matt Nieto, which was his 3rd.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) December 5, 2018
Absorbing the loss was Semyon Varlamov, who allowed six goals on 32 shot attempts to fall to 10-9 with a 2.43 GAA and a .923 save percentage on the year, including 6-5 with a 2.56 GAA and a .921 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 7-3 with a 2.60 GAA against the Panthers. The Avs check in at 2nd in the league in scoring, putting up 3.64 gpg and 8th in goals allowed at 2.79 gpg.
Panthers Get Big Night From Luongo
The Florida Panthers have had a few bright moments this year and most of them have been when Roberto Luongo has been in the crease. He has been injured a couple of times this year, but when healthy, he has played well. On Tuesday night, Luongo made his first start in 11 days and it was a doozy as he stopped all 33 shots that he faced in a 5-0 win over the Bruins. It was his first shutout of the year and 77th of his career. Luongo is now 5-3 with a 2.71 GAA and a .914 save percentage on the year, including 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .967 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 22-22 with a 2.59 GAA against the Avalanche.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) December 5, 2018
Florida is still having a rough season overall as they are at 11-15 overall and tied with the Ottawa Senators for last place in the Atlantic Division. Leading their attack against the Bruins, was Mike Hoffman, who scored twice and now has 14 on the year. Mike Matheson (6th), Jonathan Huberdeau (7th) and Evgenii Dadonov (13th) also scored in the win. The Panthers enter this game ranked 10th in the league in scoring at 3.31 gpg and 26th in goals allowed, giving up 3.42 gpg.
- 2-5 in their last 7 vs. the Central
- The Over is 20-8-3 in their last 31 after scoring 5 goals or more in their previous game
- 7-1 in their last 8 vs. the Atlantic.
- 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Roberto Luongo has been a steadying influence in the crease for the Panthers, but I still feel that the Avs will be the ones to take this one. Colorado has one of the best offenses in the league and they have also been very solid at the other end of the ice. The Panthers have a decent offense but they won’t put up enough to take down Colorado in this one.
Prediction: Colorado +105
Full-Game Total Pick
The Avs come in ranked 2nd in the league in a scoring, while the Panthers are 10th. I am well aware that Luongo has a 1.00 GAA at home, but this is a strong offense that he will be facing. Florida has averaged 3.54 GAA at home, while the Avs have allowed 2.94 gpg on the road. The Over is 15-5-2 in Colorado’s last 22 road games vs. a team with a losing home record and 7-1-2 in Florida’s last 10 vs. the Central.
Prediction: Over 6