It’ll be Pride Night in PNC Arena Friday, as the Carolina Hurricanes host their fellow forces of nature, the Colorado Avalanche.
After making a big splash at the trade line with deals to bring Vincent Trocheck, Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen to Raleigh, the Hurricanes were handed a tough 4-1 loss from the Dallas Stars Tuesday night. The newest members of the Canes (or two of them, anyway, with Vatanen still recovering from a foot injury) will be looking to get their first Carolina win Friday night, as they take on the Avalanche.
Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho have really found their form playing together on the Canes’ top line, as each is on a career-best point streak. Svechnikov assisted an Aho goal against Dallas Tuesday, extending his streak to 11 games. For Aho, the goal against the Stars moved his point streak to 13 games, the longest active streak in the NHL. Aho has scored 11 goals during that stretch, and is now fifth in the league with 36 goals.
The biggest issue facing the Hurricanes right now is in net, as Petr Mrazek and James Reimer are still dealing with injuries from last week’s win in Toronto that featured the heroics of everyone’s favorite emergency backup goaltender, David Ayres.
Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg are up from Charlotte to take the place of Mrazek and Reimer, and it will be Forsberg in net against Colorado Friday night. This year in Charlotte, Forsberg is 15-9 with a 2.95 GAA and .905 save percentage.
Here is how Rod Brind’Amour’s team will line up Friday:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Ryan Dzingel - Jordan Martinook - Brock McGinn
Joel Edmundson - Jaccob Slavin
Jake Gardiner - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Haydn Fleury - Brady Skjei
Injuries and Scratches: Dougie Hamilton (leg), Petr Mrazek (concussion), Brett Pesce (shoulder), James Reimer (lower body), Sami Vatanen (lower body)
After falling in its NHL Stadium Series game to the Los Angeles Kings a couple weeks ago, the Avalanche has picked up points in its last five games since then.
Colorado has won four straight and is coming off a 3-2 home win over the Buffalo Sabres. Like the Canes, Friday night will be the first game of a back-to-back for the Avalanche, which is kicking off a three-game road trip in Raleigh.
As is always the case when you play Colorado, the player to look out for is Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche’s superstar center is fifth in the NHL with 85 points, and he checks in seventh in the league in both goals and assists with 33 and 52, respectively.
While MacKinnon is the guy that makes things go in Colorado, his supporting staff is pretty good too. Defenseman Cale Makar is having an incredible rookie season, as he is second among NHL rookies with 45 points. Winger Andre Burakovsky has also put together a solid 20-goal, 25-assist campaign. Burakovsky has been sidelined from Colorado’s last two games, but he traveled with the team and could play Friday night.
If Burakovsky can’t go, here’s how the Avalanche are likely to lineup, with reigning NHL First Star of the Week Pavel Francouz in net:
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Valeri Nichushkin
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Joonas Donskoi
Vladislav Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Martin Kaut
Matt Nieto - Vladislav Kamenev - Logan O’Connor
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Nikita Zadorov
Injuries and Scratches: Mark Barberio (healthy), Andre Burakovsky (upper body), Matt Calvert (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Nazem Kadri (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)