Red-hot Jonathan Huberdeau looks to tie the franchise record for consecutive multi-point games and keep his Florida Panthers climbing in the Eastern Conference when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Huberdeau registered at least two points in six straight games - 14 points overall - to pull within one of Hall of Famer Pavel Bure (2001) for the club record and the Panthers are 3-1-2 during that stretch.
"Everything is working right now," Huberdeau, who leads the team with 31 points and is two from 300 for his career, told reporters. "It's unbelievable. I want to try to keep it simple out there, and it's been working. I just want to keep doing that game after game." Florida, which ends its monster eight-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Saturday, shut out Boston 5-0 on Tuesday and will need another big effort against the high-powered Avalanche. Colorado is second in the league in goals per game (3.64) through Tuesday and owns the NHL's top power-play unit (32.2 percent), but must sharpen up its defense after suffering a 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. "We have to have a short memory," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told reporters after his team's 11-game point streak ended. "That's what we've been preaching when we've been 9-0-2. ... I'm worried about the next game and that's the way our whole team thinks, and that's the way we approach it. It's why we've been able to sustain (the point streak). Now we've lost and the message doesn't change. It's consistent. We want to make sure that we respond and get back at it the next game."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FS Florida
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (16-7-5): Right wing Mikko Rantanen leads the league with 46 points and recorded at least one in the last nine games, posting four goals and 13 assists during the run. Nathan MacKinnon (19 goals) is next with 43 points, but has been kept off the scoresheet in two of the last three games, and the third member of the potent top line captain Gabriel Landeskog has five of his 31 points in the past four contests. Defenseman Tyson Barrie scored Tuesday in his return to the lineup after missing four games with an undisclosed injury.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (11-10-5): Roberto Luongo returned to the lineup with 33 saves Tuesday after missing five games with a knee injury and notched his 77th career shutout to pass Ed Belfour and Tony Esposito for ninth on the NHL's all-time list. "It was great for (Luongo) to be back in there," coach Bob Boughner told reporters. "His rebound control was amazing. ... He didn't leave a lot laying around the crease." Right wing Evgenii Dadonov boasts a four-game goal streak and has at least one point in six straight while captain Aleksander Barkov is riding a five-game point streak (three goals, five assists).
1. Colorado G Semyon Varlamov had a shutout in Detroit on Sunday and gave up a season high-tying six goals Tuesday.
2. Florida F Nick Bjugstad left Tuesday's game after being hit into the boards and is questionable with an upper-body injury.
3. The Avalanche took both meetings last season, including 7-3 at Florida.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 5, Panthers 3 Bet Now
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