Aves Love Florida

The struggling Florida Panthers haven't had much of a home-ice advantage over the last two months. They've never had any kind of home-ice success against the Colorado Avalanche in their 14-year history.

The Panthers look to avoid losing their eighth straight home game against the Avalanche as they meet Sunday at Bank Atlantic Center.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Florida -146 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Colorado +136 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

After opening the season 5-2-0 at the Bank Atlantic Center, Florida (20-22-3) has a NHL-worst 4-9-2 home record since Nov. 9.

The Panthers lost their fifth straight home game on Saturday night, falling to Tampa Bay 5-3. They allowed a pair of second-period goals, and have been outscored 16-6 during their current skid.

"In the second period some guys didn't compete enough,'' Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "(They) ended up costing us the game.''

The Panthers have had even less home success against the Colorado franchise, going just 1-10-0 all-time against them at home. Florida has not beat the Colorado franchise since a 4-2 victory over the Quebec Nordiques on April 22, 1995, at Miami Arena. The Nordiques became the Avalanche the next season, and the Panthers have lost seven straight games against the Colorado club.

These teams last met in Florida on Jan. 21, 2004, as the Avalanche won 6-5.

In their only meeting last season on Feb. 6, the Avalanche beat the Panthers 5-4 in overtime. Colorado has won three straight over Florida, and six of the last seven meetings.

The Avalanche (23-18-3) beat Carolina 5-4 on Saturday, snapping a four-game road losing streak.

Colorado entered Saturday' third period down 4-2 before rallying behind two goals from Marek Svatos in just over 2 minutes.

Svatos leads the Avalanche with 19 goals, and has nine scores in his last 10 games.

"He's been on fire lately,'' teammate Cody McLeod said. "He's been the only one that can score, it seems.''

Paul Stastny added his 16th goal, ending a career-high 10-game goal-scoring drought.

Goaltender Jose Theodore stopped 30 shots on Saturday to pick up just his fifth win in his last 14 games. Theodore made 28 saves in last season's victory against Florida, his first game against the Panthers as a member of the Avalanche. He is 8-8-0 with three ties, a 2.41 goals-against average and two shutouts in his career against Florida.

Peter Budaj, who has posted a 2.97 GAA in losing his last three starts, has never faced the Panthers in his three-year career.

Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team on Friday, stopped 20 shots on Saturday, and is just 1-6-0 with a 3.34 GAA since Dec. 28. Vokoun, in his first season with the Panthers, is 7-9-0 with one tie and a 3.21 GAA lifetime against the Avalanche.

Backup goalie Craig Anderson, who is just 1-4-1 with a 2.76 GAA, stopped 17-of-22 shots in just over 30 minutes in an 8-1 loss for Chicago in his only start against Colorado on March 22, 2003.

Florida captain Olli Jokinen scored his team-leading 22nd goal on Saturday, ending a six-game goal-scoring drought.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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