Avs try to get road trip on track vs. Panthers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to pick up their first win of a five-game road trip when they visit the Florida Panthers for Thursday's battle at BB&T Center.

The Panthers, meanwhile, hope to put their worst loss of the season behind them when they begin a five-game stay in South Florida.

Florida had won three straight and was 4-1-0 to begin a six-game road trip before getting blitzed 8-2 Tuesday night in Winnipeg. The loss marked the club's largest margin of defeat this season and put a damper on what was otherwise an outstanding trip for the Panthers.

Mathieu Perreault scored four goals to lead the Jets in the blowout, which marked the first time Florida surrendered eight goals in a game since an 8-0 loss against Boston on Dec. 23, 2011.

Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 20 shots for the Panthers before being yanked from the game. Al Montoya did not fare any better, allowing four more on 15 shots.

"It wasn't one guy or one line, it was every player on our team," Florida head coach Gerard Gallant said of his team's woes.

Dave Bolland and Brad Boyes scored for the Panthers, who are three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Florida hopes to bounce back on home ice, where it has lost two straight and is 9-5-3 on the season. Next up for the Panthers is Saturday's home tilt versus the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

Luongo is 20-15-5 with a 2.62 goals against average in his career against Colorado and he is expected to start tonight.

Florida notched a 4-3 overtime win at Colorado on Oct. 21 with Boyes tallying the game-winner in the extra session. The Panthers are 5-2-1 over the past eight overall meetings with the Avalanche.

Colorado did halt a three-game road skid in this series when it posted a 3-2 win in Sunrise on Jan. 24 of last season. However, the Avs are just 7-8-6 as the visiting team in 2014-15 and have dropped three of their last four as the guest.

After beginning their current swing with a 2-1 regulation loss at Washington, the Avalanche were able to pick up a point in Tuesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm scored on Carolina's first two chances in the shootout after the Avs forced overtime with a third-period comeback.

The Avalanche trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes, but rallied with goals from Matt Duchene and John Mitchell. However, they were shut out by Anton Khudobin in the tiebreaker.

Calvin Pickard stopped 44 shots for Colorado, which was outshot 20-9 in the first period and 46-30 in the game.

"(Pickard) made several good saves and kept us in the game in the first period," said Colorado coach Patrick Roy.

Semyon Varlamov expects to be back between the pipes for the Avs tonight. Colorado's franchise goaltender is 4-2-0 with a 2.50 GAA in six career outings against the Panthers.

The Avs, who are four points out of a playoff spot in the West, will continue this swing with Saturday's game in Tampa before closing it Monday against St. Louis.