'YOUNG GUNS' OFF TO SLOW START: Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov ready to start scoring ... Barkov back with Boyes and Bergenheim ... Cats in Colorado
DENVER -- The Panthers were expecting to get considerable scoring from second-year centers Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad this year.
Through the first five games, neither has scored.
Although Bjugstad admits to being frustrated with his scoring drought, Barkov says the first five games are all in the past.
When Florida takes on Colorado at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night, he's coming in with a fresh approach.
"Tomorrow is a new day,'' Barkov said of Tuesday's game. "My season starts tomorrow.''
Barkov was one of Florida's top offensive producers before being hurt last January. During Saturday's game against the Capitals, coach Gerard Gallant mixed up the lines, putting Barkov back with former linemates Brad Boyes and Sean Bergenheim.
Last year, that line was one of Florida's most successful combos. Barkov hopes to recreate some of that success starting Tuesday.
"I'm just trying to forget those five games and now we've got the 'Killer B' line back and I like that,'' Barkov said.
"I liked playing with Jussi [Jokinen] and Jonathan [Huberdeau] but I thought we played very well together last year. Bergenheim is helping me a lot, so is Boyes. We know each other very well. I think we'll play good.''
Said Gallant: "We're just trying to find some chemistry early in the season and they played well when we made the switch. They looked pretty good.''
Like Barkov, Bjugstad remains centering one of Florida's top two lines as he will be partnered up with Scottie Upshall and Huberdeau.
Although he hasn't scored a goal yet, Gallant says he likes the way Bjugstad has played on both ends of the ice. Bjugstad figures the goals will start going in eventually as he has been creating chances.
Florida only has scored five goals this season with five different players doing the honors. Bjugstad and Barkov would like to join that club soon.
"It's tough when you're not producing point-wise and we know being on the top lines, we need to start doing so,'' Bjugstad said.
"It's definitely something we need to figure out. We're getting chances and working hard, doing the little things. We're both young guys in this league and need to stay positive. The thing about playing in the NHL is you have to be consistent. You just can't stress out about it too much.''
-- Colorado and Florida are two of the lowest scoring teams in the league and are just two of four teams to yet to hit double digits in scoring.
Colorado has been hit with injuries to its goaltenders with AHL goalie Calvin Pickard filling in for backup Reto Berra after he was hurt Thursday in Ottawa. Starter Semyon Varlamov (groin) is on the injured list and won't play against the Panthers although Berra may.
The Avs are coming off a 1-2-1 road trip in which Colorado -- one of the top teams in the Western Conference last year -- was outscored just 12-9.
"They're coming home for the first time in a while and they'll be ready to play,'' Gallant said. "They didn't find a lot of success on the road but they're a good hockey team with a lot of speed.''
-- Dave Bolland (lower body) remained out of practice again Monday with Brandon Pirri expected to remain in the lineup for a second straight game.
Tuesday: Panthers at Avalanche
Where, When: Pepsi Center, Denver; 9 p.m.
TV/Radio: FSNF/WQAM 560
The series: Colorado leads 19-9-3
Noteworthy: The Panthers are ranked 25th in the Hockey News' first installment of its weekly power rankings. The Avs, which ended last season ranked third, is now 26th.