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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: A visit to Hurricane country

NHL: FEB 08 Avalanche at Blues Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

Colorado Avalanche

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.

Projected Lineup:

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

Carolina Hurricanes

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.

Projected Lineup:

Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Teuvo Teravainen

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

Starting Goalies

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%.