The Avalanche's newborn up and down season continues on Wednesday night as they return to Denver following a two game stint in southern California. After five games, the Avs have traded wins and losses in consecutive games, but it still feels as though they are searching for their identity. Through the first four games, the Avalanche seemed to have the offense rolling, even though the defense was less than stellar. Against LA, however, the Avs managed just one goal on the power play from Matt Duchene. While it was nice to see an offensive player such as Duchene get his first goal of the season, a six shot third period from a team that is down by a goal is very underwhelming.
Perhaps part of the reason for the Avalanche's lapse in goal scoring Sunday was the absence of offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie. Barrie will continue to serve a three-game suspension for an illegal hit on Simon Despres. Maybe Barrie was a little jealous of the lucrative five-year extension which Despres just received from the Ducks. Either way, the Avs will be without Barrie for the next two games. Barrie's suspension and the reassignment of forward Borna Rendulic may open up an opportunity for Brandon Gormley to make his Avalanche debut. The Former Coyote had an impressive training camp and surprised some by making the NHL squad. At 23 years old, Gormley is still an NHL infant, but his strong play in practice has made Patrick Roy admit he needs to give him a look at some point. We'll see if that look will take place tonight.
The Avs opponent Wednesday night is the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes ended last season with a top-five draft pick and are expected to end this season in a similar place. At 1-4-0, the Canes seem to be right on track for expectations, leaving many people in the NHL to wonder if veteran brothers Eric and Jordan Staal are on their way out of Raleigh. Despite the Canes' struggles of late, the team is set well to succeed down the road with one of the league's youngest rosters and a defense that features three talented young players in Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy, and 18-year old Noah Hanifin. The Canes lone win this season did come on the road and they should not be taken lightly.
Scratches: Barrie (suspended), Stuart
- This will be the first match-up of 2015 draft picks against each other, as Mikko Rantanen (#10) faces Noah Hanifin(#5).
- Former Avalanche defenseman, John-Michael Lilies returns to Denver tonight. Lilies broke into the league with the Avalanche back in 2003 and played with the team for seven years. Lilies was named to the Avalanche's 20th Anniversary team this past week and raised a few eye brows with his inclusion on the legendary roster. But at 275 points, Lilies leads all other defensemen in Avalanche history in points in the burgandy and blue and rightfully deserves a slot on the 20th anniversary squad.
Game time: 8pm MT