The Colorado Avalanche continue their road trip this evening in Carolina as they look for a season sweep against the Hurricanes. The Avalanche won the first meeting 5-3 back in early November and will look at tonight’s game to get back on track after a bit of a rough patch.
Having lost five of their last seven games, the Avalanche are coming off one of their worst performances of the season dropping a 6-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues. Carolina played last night, so the hope is that the Avs can take advantage of fatigue and get a win. The team needs a big win tonight so they don’t head into Buffalo on Sunday facing a 0-fer road trip.
Nathan MacKinnon is still out of the lineup, so this is an Avalanche team that needs to get creative in order to score goals. To that end, it looks like Tyson Jost might get a shot at center on the top line. Jost was between Rantanen and Landeskog at practice yesterday, so we will see what the lines look like during the game-day skate.
With only four goals in their last three games, this is a team that is showing they are not properly equipped to deal with an injury to their best player. Another few losses like the one we saw Thursday night and we should expect the Avalanche to be put firmly in the “sellers” category as the trade deadline approaches.
The Soderberg line was really bad against the Blues on Thursday night. They are going to have to be a lot better if the team wants to limit scoring chances against.
Gabriel Landeskog - Tyson Jost - Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Colin Wilson - Alexander Kerfoot- J.T. Compher
Gabriel Bourque - Dominic Toninato - Nail Yakupov
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Anton Lindholm - Tyson Barrie
Samuel Girard - Patrik Nemeth
The Canes are coming off of a dominant performance last night against the Vancouver Canucks. Though it was a very strong performance, yesterday’s 4-1 victory was the first time the Canes have scored more than two goals in their last six games.
This is a team that struggles offensively on most nights - sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference in goals for.
Though they have one of the best young defensive groups in the NHL, this season has been a disappointment for a Carolina team that many were picking to make a huge jump in the standings. Like the Avalanche, the Hurricanes are battling for the second wildcard spot in their conference, though they don’t have a goal differential that suggests they can get there.
Sebastian Aho and Tuevo Teravainen lead the team in scoring, showing that there is some hope for the future.
Brock McGinn - Victor Rask - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Elias Lindholm - Phil Di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Derek Ryan - Lee Stempniak
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Klas Dahlbeck - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
The plan was for Semyon Varlamov tonight. That’s probably still the case despite his need to replace Jonathan Bernier halfway through the game on Thursday. Varlamov is 0-1 since returning from his month-long absence, but Varlamov is 13-10-2 on the season with a .910 sv%.
For Carolina, Scott Darling got the start yesterday, so we are likely to see Cam Ward between the pipes tonight. Ward has been the better for the two Hurricane goalies this season posting a 15-7-3 record with a .910 sv%.