The Carolina Hurricanes face the last of three straight Western Conference opponents tonight when they meet the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Following an 8-1 thrashing on Friday and a resilient 5-3 victory on Saturday, the Canes look to close out a three-games-in-four-days stretch having now earned points in 10 of their last 12 games.
The Canes enter tonight’s game with 81 points for the year (the highest point total for the Hurricanes at this point of the season since the 2005-2006 team), and they currently hold the first wild card spot in the East. Last night’s win by the Pens over the Bruins saw Pittsburgh (83 pts) move two points ahead of the Canes in the standings.
Rod Brind’Amour will not have the services of Micheal Ferland, who did not travel with the team on the road trip that began in Nashville. With Ferland out, the head coach moved Andrei Svechnikov up to the 2nd line with Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen. The rookie is mired in a bit of a scoring slump, with only one point in his last eight games.
That said, the slump isn’t stoppping him from teaming up with Dougie Hamilton for some bus-ride hijinks:
Enjoy #NationalNappingDay, but also stay woke pic.twitter.com/sllcruB4HC— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) March 11, 2019
Youth, as always, is wasted on the young.
Anyway, below is the projected lineup for the Canes:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Justin Williams
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Teuvo Teravainen
Brock McGinn - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Warren Foegele - Greg McKegg - Saku Maenalanen
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Micheal Ferland (upper body)
The Canes’ opponent Monday night, the Colorado Avalanche, have endured an up and down season. Since the Canes last saw Colorado way back on October 20 (a 3-1 Avalanche win), the boys from Denver have posted a six-game winning streak along with three losing streaks that stretched beyond five games. A particularly nasty spell between mid-January and mid-February saw the Avalanche lose eight straight, helping to explain their current position in the standings. Colorado enters tonight’s game with 72 points, sixth in the Central division but only two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card spot in the West.
If the Avalanche do make the playoffs, they will have to do so without their captain, Gabriel Landeskog. He has been ruled out until mid-April with an upper-body injury. With Landeskog unavailable, the Avalanche will lean on Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Both MacKinnon (35g, 87p) and Rantanen (30g, 86p) are on pace for career highs in goals, assists, and plus/minus rating. Colorado last skated on Saturday, a 3-0 home win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Projected lineup for the Avalanche:
Derick Brassard - Nathan MacKinnon - J.T. Compher
Colin Wilson - Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen
Alexander Kerfoot - Tyson Jost - Matt Calvert
Gabriel Bourque - Andrew Agozzino - Sven Andrighetto
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth
Scratches: Gabriel Landeskog (upper body), Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Matt Nieto (lower body), Conor Timmins (concussion)