Avalanche-Panthers Preview

BY foxsports • October 26, 2015

Patrick Roy isn't alarmed by the Colorado Avalanche's struggles, but he's concerned enough to shuffle the lines in search of answers.

Having Tyson Barrie back could make the biggest impact.

After losing all three games with Barrie suspended, the visiting Avalanche attempt to snap the skid Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.

Colorado (2-4-1) lost four games in a row three times last season, most recently from Feb. 5-12. Roy is taking steps to avoid doing it for the first time in 2015-16 after the Avalanche blew a third-period lead to fall 4-3 to previously winless Columbus on Saturday.

"Maybe for some people it seems that we're far, but for us we feel that we're really close to winning some hockey games," Roy said. "I'm not going to panic here. I think we're under control.

"I believe right now it just needs to be about our game management. If we can just be a bit better in some decisions that we make, these could be wins for us."

Roy, though, will reportedly make changes to Colorado's lines. The most prominent switch is expected to be Jack Skille going from the fourth to the first line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, who have combined for seven goals and six assists.

Skille has two goals in the last four games, netting one Saturday.

"Be hard on the forecheck. Good on the blue lines. Simple," Skille said. "Try to create space for them by playing the hard way and basically the way I've been trying to play so far this season."

Barrie is back after serving a suspension for a hit on Anaheim's Simon Despres in a 3-0 win Oct. 16. The defenseman has two assists in four games after getting a career-high 53 points to lead all Avalanche blue liners a year ago.

"It was frustrating," Barrie said. "It was definitely a long wait for me, so I'm excited to get back in there."

Barrie had two goals and one assist in last season's two meetings with the Panthers, getting one of each in a 4-2 win in Florida on Jan. 15.

The Panthers (4-3-1) got a lift from some line changes in Saturday's 6-2 win at Dallas that ended their three-game skid. Nick Bjugstad was moved up to the top line with Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau. It paid off with the line totaling two goals and four assists with Bjugstad accounting for one of each.

"Guys play with different guys. The lines aren't going to be the same all year, so I thought obviously (Bjugstad) had a good game. Huberdeau had a good game," coach Gerard Gallant said. "The Jagr line showed they played really well."

Jagr in particular has been outstanding, ranking among the league leaders with six goals and 10 points. The 43-year-old right wing has one goal in each of the last two games but has none in his last three meetings with Colorado.

Roberto Luongo should be back in net after being rested in favor of backup Al Montoya, who made 33 saves Saturday. Luongo has a 3.00 goals-against average while losing his last three starts.

He made 25 stops and was charged with a loss against Colorado in January after winning his previous seven matchups with a 1.38 GAA.

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