After a brief stop in Denver for a win Wednesday night, the Colorado Avalanche are back on the road. This time they head east to take on the Carolina Hurricanes as the Avs look to push their winning streak to five games.
These two teams met just before the Christmas break with Carolina defeating the Avalanche 3-1 at the Pepsi Center.
Tonight’s game will be a fun one for two players in particular. Martin Kaut and Martin Necas grew up together in the Czech Republic - playing in the HC Zdar nad Sazavou youth system. They have continued to be teammates - and often linemates - for the Czech national teams at different levels as they made their way towards a professional career in North America. Now, both are living their hockey dream and will face off for the first time in the NHL.
It’s been four games since Nathan MacKinnon has scored a goal. Is he ever going to score again?
After netting the first goal of his NHL career, Martin Kaut will look to build some confidence as he remains with the team until Colorado’s injured forwards start making their way back to the lineup.
There is a chance Andre Burakovesky is back in the lineup tonight but the team is officially calling him a “game time decision”. If he is ready to go, we’ll likely see Logan O’Connor as the healthy scratch.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Val Nichushkin
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Joonas Donskoi
Vlad Namestnikov - PE Bellemare - Martin Kaut
Matt Nieto - Vladislav Kamenev - Logan O’Connor
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Ian Cole - Nikita Zadorov
With the Hurricanes in a dog fight for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, look for them to come out flying at home after a couple of days off. Sebastian Aho leads the team with 36 goals in 62 games while his sidekick, Andrei Svechnikov is having the kind of breakthrough season we saw from Mikko Rantanen a few years ago.
The Canes were able to pick up one of the more underrated players in the league at the deadline when they traded for Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers. Trocheck gives the Canes a ton of depth down the middle that will likely cause a lot of issues for opponents going forward.
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Ryan Dzingel - Jordan Martinook - Brock McGinn
Joel Edmundson - Jaccob Slavin
Jake Gardiner - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Hayden Fleury - Brady Skjei
He’s been the hottest goalie in the NHL recently, so we’re likely to see Pavel Francouz between the pipes again tonight for the Avalanche. That said, the Avs play tomorrow night in Nashville, so coach Bednar might decide to start the newly acquired Michael Hutchinson tonight in Carolina to give Frankie some rest before the team takes on the divisional foe tomorrow.
Like the Avalanche were earlier this season, the Hurricanes are down to their third and fourth string goalies right now. Anton Forsberg is expected to make his first NHL start of the season for the Canes tonight. He hasn’t seen an NHL net since he played 35 games for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2017-18 season.