Avalanche score three third-period goals to bury PanthersSun Sentinel — By Wells Dusenbury Sun Sentinel
Dec. 06-- SUNRISE, Fla.-Facing one of the hottest teams in the NHL, Thursday night provided a litmus test for the resurgent Panthers, who have been heating up following a slow start to the season.
While Florida entered the final period tied with the Avalanche, Colorado scored two goals in a span of 44 seconds to pull away from the Panthers 5-2 at the BB&T Center.
A winner of three of its previous four games, Florida (11-11-5) couldn't keep its hot streak going on Thursday night. Carl Soderberg scored two goals as the Avalanche (17-7-5) recorded points for the 12th time in the past 13 games.
Roberto Luongo, who notched a shutout on Tuesday night against the Bruins in his return to net, recorded 33 saves on 37 shots.
Colorado struck first, scoring 11 minutes into the contest on Mikko Rantanen's 12th goal of the season. The Panthers evened it up with two minutes remaining in the frame, as Colton Sceviour tipped in his third goal on the year off assists from Bogdan Kiselevich and MacKenzie Weegar.
The Panthers had a golden opportunity to jump on top in the second period after an Avalanche penalty, but surrendered a short-handed goal to Soderberg to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
Just like in the first period, the Panthers provided a counter-punch when, 35 seconds later, Aaron Ekblad scored off a great feed from Jared McCann to even the game 2-2 on the power play goal. For Ekblad, it was his sixth goal of the season.
Tied 2-2 with 13 minutes remaining, the Panthers surrendered back-to-back goals from J.T. Compher and Gabriel Landeskog to fall behind 4-2. Colorado tacked on an empty-net goal for the final margin.
The Panthers return to the ice Saturday night against the New York Rangers to complete their eight-game home stand. Through the first seven contests in this home stretch, the Panthers are 3-2-2. Following the Rangers game, Florida will then hit the road, playing six of its next seven away.
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