Leading scorer Barkov (lower body) out for Panthers, Gomez gets rare game

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Florida will be without talented rookie and leading scorer Aleksander Barkov tonight when it hosts the Avalanche in Sunrise.

Barkov, who tops all Panthers with 24 points this year, will miss his first game of the season after suffering a lower-body injury against Buffalo on Tuesday.

In his place, veteran Scott Gomez will draw into the lineup for the first time in 11 games — Gomez hasn’t played in 2014, with his last game coming on Dec. 28 against Detroit.

Florida has played well of late, and is on a modest two-game winning streak heading into tonight’s action. It’ll be interesting to see how the club fares without Barkov, as he shoulders a pretty large load for an 18-year-old — in addition to leading the team in points, the Finnish phenom is second on the team in faceoffs, first in takeaways and plays over 17 minutes a night.