The Carolina Hurricanes are in Denver and will battle tonight with the Colorado Avalanche, the first place team in the Western Conference. As we mentioned previously, the Canes have yet to win a road game this season and are riding a four game losing streak. The Avs just lost in Minnesota in OT on Wednesday night, but have an excellent overall record of 6-1-2. The team is undefeated at home in two games.
Initially, Colorado coach Joe Sacco was going to start Peter Budaj in goal tonight, but Budaj took ill so Craig Anderson will be in net for the home team. This is the same Craig Anderson who was back up goalie in Florida for the past few years, but he is off to a hot start so far this season and has played well. He will be up against Cam Ward for the Canes.
|2009 - Craig Anderson||9||553||6||1||19||2.06||289||270||.934||1|
|2009 - Cam Ward||8||462||2||4||19||2.47||245||226||.922||0|
The Avs are led by Wojtek Wolski who has four goals and four assists. Some of you may remember Wolski from the 2004 Draft. He was one of the rookies who was paraded around town along with Alexander Ovechkin, Cam Barker, Andrew Ladd, and others.
Milan Hejduk is always dangerous, (3G 4A), and even Darcy Tucker has been contributing offensively. (4G 2A).
The Colorado offense has been very successful to date as they have scored 30 goals compared to just 18 for the Hurricanes.
Carolina's head coach, Paul Maurice, has been mixing and matching the lines at will trying to find something that clicks. As we reported here on our game recap from Wednesday night, he re-assembled the Jokinen, Samsonov, and Ruutu line which was so successful at the end of last year and in the playoffs.
In order to do this, he had to move Rod Brind`Amour to Matt Cullen's line. That means that Brind'Amour will be playing wing, probably one of the few times in his 20 year career. Kudos to the the News and Observer, who sent Chip Alexander on this road trip. Chip verified this information on his Twitter account.
The lines will look like the following:
- Staal, LaRose, Whitney
- Cullen, Brind`Amour, Walker
- Jokinen, Ruutu, Samsonov
- Yelle, Conboy, Kostopoulos
Tim Gleason is expected to sit out tonight, although he is feeling better and participated in the game day skate. I assume the defensive pairings will be mixed and matched as the coaching staff sees fit. Jay Harrison will fill in for Gleason if plans do not change before game time.
The Canes have never earned a point at Pepsi Center. They have an 0-5-0 record there and last won in Denver at the old McNichols Arena in 1996 as the Hartford Whalers.
This is the front end of a back-to-back for the club as they will travel to Minnesota immediately after this match to meet the Wild tomorrow night. Carolina is 1-1 so far in the front end of these games and 0-2-0 in the back end.
FS Carolinas will do the telecast and 99.9 The Fan will have the radio and online feeds. The game starts at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Since this game has a late start, we thought we would try something different and have two "Live Game Threads" tonight. The first thread will start up at 6:30 and fans can discuss the River Rats game against the Rochester Americans. That game is supposed to have free streaming and the tip off will be at 7.
The Hurricanes Live Game Thread will start up at 8, one hour before the puck drops in Denver.