The Florida Panthers played their first game of 2015 at BB&T Center on Thursday and lost to the Colorado Avalanche by a final of 4-2.
On the recent six-game trip, the Panthers went 4-2 and had a three-game win streak along the way. Despite ending the trip with a blowout loss, Florida returned home on Thursday knowing it had just completed a successful two weeks.
With a second straight loss, the Panthers missed an opportunity to gain ground in the Eastern Conference. Florida remains in ninth place and three points back of the New York Rangers who sit in eighth. New York has lost two games in a row as well.
Aaron Ekblad got the scoring started for Florida on Thursday with his power play goal in the first period. It was the sixth goal of the year for Ekblad who will be part of the upcoming NHL All-Star festivities. Brian Campbell and Nick Bjugstad assisted on the goal that tied the game at one.
With Colorado up 2-1 in the second period, Aleksander Barkov put his fourth goal into the back of the net. Brad Boyes and Jonathan Huberdeau picked up assists on the score that once again tied the game.
Roberto Luongo allowed the game-winner in the third period with about nine minutes left to go. The Avalanche would add an empty net goal later in the period as well. Luongo ended up saving 25 of the 28 attempts sent his way.
Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri were healthy scratches for the Panthers in Thursday's game.
Florida will take on the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.