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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Clash of league’s best in Carolina

Can the Avalanche rebound after blowing a three goal lead against the Devils?

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

The Colorado Avalanche will play their third game in four days tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. Both teams sit atop their conference standings and remain first (Colorado) and second (Carolina) in the entire league.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

The Avalanche have hit their first slump since the first week of the regular season. They have lost three of their last four contests and clearly had some tired legs in a loss to the young and firey New Jersey Devils.

Head Coach Jared Bednar was not too pleased with his team’s performance, and rightfully so. Anytime you squander a 3-0 lead, you should be disappointed, especially when it’s to one of the least experienced teams in the NHL. It was the second of a back-to-back amid the most hectic part of the schedule, so I’ll give the boys the benefit of the doubt.

The Avalanche now has five players in the top twenty-five point scorers, including defenseman Cale Makar. Look for the top line to make a resurgence and keep a close watch on Mikko Rantanen. Despite catching some heat from Avs fans, he is currently tied for ninth among top point-getters with sixty-seven.

FORWARDS

Andre Burakovsky - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog - Nazem Kadri - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Newhook - JT Compher - Logan O’Connor

Darren Helm - Tyson Jost - Nicolas Aube-Kubel

DEFENDERS

Devon Toews - Cale Makar

Jack Johnson - Samuel Girard

Ryan Murray - Erik Johnson

CAROLINA HURRICANES

The Hurricanes are all too familiar with the taste of victory this season. Much like the Avalanche, Carolina has been able to string consecutive wins together frequently this year. They have won two straight heading into tonight’s contest.

Sabastian Aho leads Carolina in both goals and assists in fifty-three games played. Born in Rauma, Finland, Aho has become one of the NHL’s most reliable forwards and has solidified himself among the leadership group in Carolina.

NOTE: The Hurricanes will be without defender Jake Gardner who is on Injured Reserve; Brendan Smith and Tony DeAngelo are also listed as out for tonight’s game.

FORWARDS

Andrei Scechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen

Jordan Martinook - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas

Nino Niederreiter - Jordan Staal - Jasper Fast

Steven Lorentz - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Seth Jarvis

DEFENDERS

Jacob Slavin - Ethan Bear

Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce

Ian Cole - Jalen Chatfield

GOALTENDERS

I’d imagine the Avalanche will go with Pavel Francouz tonight since he will be coming in with two nights’ rest. Both tenders have struggled recently, but neither has had much help from the squad in front of them. Too many odd-man rushes and O-zone turnovers have contributed to their downturn.

Carolina will likely go with their ace Antti Raanta against the Avalanche. Raanta gets the start after securing the win in his last against the Seattle Kraken, in which he only allowed two goals on thirty shots.