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Carolina Hurricanes at Colorado Avalanche: Lineups and Game Discussion

The Hurricanes will wrap up a so-far successful five-game road trip Thursday in Denver against Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche. 

Carolina Hurricanes v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes will conclude a five-game road trip Thursday night in Colorado, as the Canes battle the Avalanche in a showdown of the natural disasters in the Pepsi Center.

So far, so good on the western road trip for the Canes. Carolina has picked up seven of eight possible points so far on the five-game trip, and will be looking to finish strong in Denver Thursday. The Hurricanes are coming off an exciting 6-3 win in Winnipeg, that featured two goals from Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal, and a showstopping lacrosse goal from Andrei Svechnikov.

This five-game trip through western Canada and Colorado is probably the toughest stretch of games on the Canes’ entire schedule, and Carolina heads into the finale Thursday with a chance to get points in all five games.

Here is how Rod Brind’Amour’s squad will likely line up against the Avalanche:

Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel - Lucas Wallmark - Martin Necas
Brock McGinn - Jordan Martinook - Brian Gibbons

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Joel Edmundson - Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner - Trevor van Riemsdyk

James Reimer
Petr Mrazek

Injuries and Scratches: Erik Haula (knee), Haydn Fleury (healthy)

The Avalanche will be playing the second game of a back-to-back Thursday, as Colorado topped Chicago 4-1 on the road Wednesday night. The Avalanche has been playing some pretty good hockey as of late. The team has won three of its last four games, and has a stellar record of 6-1-1 since the start of December.

Colorado boasts one of the league’s bona fide superstars in Nathan MacKinnon, as the now seventh-year forward is playing some of the best hockey of his career this season. MacKinnon leads the Avalanche with 52 points, good for third in the entire NHL, and is also top-10 in the league with 21 goals scored. He’s currently on a five-game assist streak, which has him up to 31 apples on the season.

MacKinnon and the Avalanche currently sit in second place in the Western Conference, and will look to stop Carolina’s hot streak Thursday night. There’s a chance that Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson will return to the lineup Thursday after an extended absence with a lower-body injury, but if he doesn’t here is how Jared Bednar’s squad should line up:

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Joonas Donskoi - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Valeri Nichushkin - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Matt Nieto - Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher

Nikita Zadorov - Samuel Girard
Mark Barberio - Ian Cole
Ryan Graves - Calle Rosen

Philipp Grubauer
Pavel Francouz

Injuries and Scratches: Vladislav Kamenev (healthy), Anton Lindholm (healthy), Erik Johnson (lower body), Cale Makar (upper body), Colin WIlson (lower body)