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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Into the eye of the storm

Avalanche look to push their winning streak to five games

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Colorado Avalanche

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.

Projected lineup:

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

Carolina Hurricanes

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.

Projected lineup:

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

Starting Goalies

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.