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Avalanche Vs. Panthers: Colorado Returns Home As Both Teams Fight For Postseason Berths

The Colorado Avalanche have struggled through a very unsteady month of January, having lost four of their past five games. They head back to Pepsi Center for only their second home game of the year as they take on the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers hold a tenuous one point lead in the Southeast Division over the Washington Capitals, and are in the midst of their own January struggles; they have a 1-2-2 record this month. Their early season success has slowed to a crawl as their offense has dried up. Kris Versteeg still leads the team in goals, but only has one in their past 10 games. Former Avalanche Tomas Fleischmann, who signed this offseason with Florida as a free agent, has enjoyed a stellar season with 15 goals, but has also struggled lately with a -13 plus/minus rating their past 10 games.

In net, Jose Theodore is expected to return from a knee injury that kept him out the past five games. Theodore has had a renaissance season in Florida, with a 2.43 GAA, his lowest mark since 2004 when he played for Montreal.

For Colorado, Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get the start for Colorado after Semyon Varlamov was rocked against Phoenix earlier this week. Giguere has been the model of consistency for the Avalanche with a miniscule 2.07 GAA this season (though he has allowed three or more goals in three of his past five starts).

Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MDT

For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Panthers blog Litter Box Cats.