Coming out of the bye week, the games get very crucial very quickly for the Hurricanes if they are serious about making a playoff push. They’ll have that opportunity tonight, as the league-worst Colorado Avalanche come to town on the heels of a 2-0 shutout defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres last night.
The ‘Canes can’t be looking past the Avs, though. They’re a quick team that could easily take advantage of some rust on Carolina’s part if the Hurricanes aren’t ready from the get-go.
Here’s how the Hurricanes lined up at their morning skate earlier today:
Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Teuvo Teravainen - Lee Stempniak
Brock McGinn - Victor Rask - Derek Ryan
Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Viktor Stalberg
Jaccob Slavin - Matt Tennyson
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Klas Dahlbeck
Defenseman Brett Pesce was not present at the morning skate, and we’re awaiting word as to the reason behind that.
Peters said Pesce is a #Canes game-time decision with an illness.— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 17, 2017
"I think he'll play, but we'll know after warmup." #COLvsCAR
Other than Tennyson filling in for him, the only difference in this line-up from the one that went into the bye week is the flipping of Ryan and Teravainen up front. We’ll see if the playmaking mindset of Teravainen can help break Skinner out of his slump.
On the other side of the ledger, here is the line-up that Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar went with in Buffalo last night:
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Mikhail Grigorenko - Matt Duchene - Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau - John Mitchell - Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen - Carl Soderberg - Joe Colborne
Nikita Zadorov - Francois Beauchemin
Fedor Tyutin - Tyson Barrie
Mark Barberio - Cody Goloubef
Pickard went in net last night and played relatively well, but prior to last night’s game, Bednar indicated that Smith may get the nod in net tonight given the back-to-back situation.
Obviously you’ve all grown very familiar with Landeskog and Duchene given all the recent trade speculation, but MacKinnon is a legitimate superstar and this team’s best player. Rantanen is emerging into a very good player in his own right as well.
The Hurricanes will need to be on their toes defensively to neutralize all that talent in Colorado’s top six. If they can do that, there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for them to get two points out of this one.