Unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities Panthers fall to the Avalanche 2-1

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DENVER (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves and the Colorado Avalanche beat Florida 2-1 on Thursday night for their second victory over the Panthers in five days.

Colorado won 7-3 in Florida on Saturday night and swept the season series behind a strong game from MacKinnon. He had his third two-goal game and leads the Avalanche with 35 points.

MacKinnon gave Colorado a 2-1 lead when he worked his way around defenseman Aaron Ekblad, skated in on goalie James Reimer and put in a shot to the short side at 6:44 of the third period. It was MacKinnon’s team-leading 13th goal of the season.

The goal came exactly two minutes after Reimer robbed MacKinnon on the doorstep. Reimer finished with 28 saves.

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on MacKinnon’s first goal at 3:15 of the second. The Panthers tied it midway through the period when Jamie McGinn poked the puck away from Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard and fed Aleksander Barkov, who beat Varlamov for his 11th goal of the season.

Florida nearly took the lead moments later when Vincent Trocheck’s shot to the short side got under Varlamov’s glove, but hit the post.

NOTES

The Panthers have not allowed a power-play goal in four straight games. … Avalanche forward Alexander Kerfoot was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Kerfoot was injured when a shot by teammate Erik Johnson hit him in the foot against Pittsburgh on Monday. … Florida C Denis Malgin was scratched. He left Tuesday’s overtime loss in Chicago with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. … Colorado has allowed six short-handed goals this season, and the Panthers have scored six on the penalty kill.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Make their first trip to Vegas to play the Golden Knights on Sunday.

Avalanche: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.