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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: A little Saturday morning hockey

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The Avalanche continue their road trip with a stop in Carolina

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche roll into Carolina looking to pull above .500 on their current east coast road trip. After a big win Thursday night, the Avs sit 4-1-2 on the season and are currently tied with the Predators for top spot in the Central Division.

The top line continues to be outstanding. In New Jersey it was the captain carrying the load. Gabriel Landeskog got his third hat trick since the start of the 2017-18 season - tied for the league lead.

Beyond the top line, there hasn’t been a whole lot to speak of as far as offense goes. The other nine forwards are going to have to pick things up if the Avalanche are going to continue their winning ways.

The Avalanche have won three of the last four games against Carolina, but this isn’t your grandpa’s Hurricanes. This team is a lot more exciting and has a lot more fire power than in years past.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche looked a lot better Thursday night with a win against a very good New Jersey Devils team. The returning Sven Andrighetto scored in his fist game of the season, but secondary scoring is still a huge concern. Even when Nathan MacKinnon isn’t scoring, it’s still the top line that is still carrying this team.

Sheldon Dries has been reassigned to the Eagles as newly acquired Marko Dano has finally joined the team and is now a part of the active roster. Dano will be available today, but no word yet on whether or not we’ll see him in the lineup. An Andrighetto/Kamenev/Dano line is something I would like to see.

On the back end, the Erik Johnson/Sam Girard pair is turning into a legitimate top pairing at both ends of the ice. They have been playing big minute

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - Colin Wilson

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert

Sven Andrighetto - Vladislav Kamenev - Gabriel Bourque

Marko Dano

Defense

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth - Nikita Zadorov


Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes have lost their past two games, but still remain on top of the Metropolitan Division while being among the league leaders in goals scored.

It’s amazing what a second overall pick, a new head coach and a big trade can do for a team.

Andre Svechnikov is the real deal. The 18-year old has 2 goals and two assists through his first 7 games in the NHL despite playing a bottom-6 role and averaging only 13 minutes a game. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour is easing the rookie in, but as his ice time rises, people around the league will understand why some thought he could have been a better pick than Rasmus Dahlin.

On top of the addition of Svechnikov, the Hurricanes made a big splash this summer when they were able to pull off a blockbuster trade with Calgary. The Hurricanes acquired Dougie Hamilton and Michael Ferland - along with high end prospect Adam Fox - in exchange for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm.

Ferland has four goals and 7 points through the team’s first 7 games and Dougie Hamilton is a huge upgrade to the blueline.

The three big acquisitions, along with a new coaching system has allowed Carolina to transform the way they play the game. The wins are coming as a result.

Of course there is also Sebastian Aho who has turned into one of the most exciting - and underrated - young players in the NHL.

Earlier this week the team demoted rookies Hayden Fleury and Martin Necas to Charlotte of the AHL so neither will play today.

Forwards

Michael Ferland - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen

Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams

Brock McGinn - Clark Bishop - Valentin Zykov

Jordan Martinook - Lucas Wallmark - Andrei Svechnikov

Defense

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton

Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brett Pesche


Starting Goalies

After picking up his first win with the organization on Thursday night, Philipp Grubauer is going to be back in net for the Avalanche today. Hopefully this is nothing more than Bednar riding the hot hand, but you can’t help but wonder whether or not Varly is 100% since you don’t often see a guy with a .948 sv% playing the role of the back up for two straight games.

Grubauer will look to improve on his 1-1 record and .891 sv%.

For the Canes, we are likely to see Petr Mrazek. He is 1-2-1 on the season with a .874 sv%. If not Mrazek it will be journeyman backup Curtis McElhinney.