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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Colorado Avalanche: Game Preview

The best in the East and best in the West meet for the first time this season.

Colorado Avalanche v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

It isn’t something you’ve been able to say a lot this season, but the Colorado Avalanche are looking to — get this — bounce back from a loss. Their stop over in New Jersey resulted in a 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils, a sentence that actively feels strange to type out. The Hurricanes held a 3-0 lead until midway through the second period, when a Devils rally saw them score five unanswered goals to collect a win.

So, needless to say, it’s a motivated Avalanche team that’s going to be coming into PNC Arena today. Losing in general is bad enough, but a blown lead to one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference is a whole other thing. They’ve only had three losing streaks total this season — and that’s if you count two losses as a streak. (Three straight losses in October, two consecutive in November, and two consecutive just this month.)

With the Hurricanes and Avalanche both sitting atop their respective divisions, this game is a clash of two of the top teams in the league. The Hurricanes have only lost six games at home; the Avalanche have only lost eleven games on the road. Both teams have absurd goal differentials, top notch special teams, and some of the top talents on ice.

There’s probably more than one of you out there who had Hurricanes/Avalanche as their Stanley Cup matchup favorite, so think of tonight as a preview.

For the first time this season, let’s see how the Avalanche and Hurricanes compare before puck drop:

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Bruins
Category Hurricanes Bruins
Record 54-20-8 51-26-5
Goals/Game 3.38 3.08
Goals Against/Game 2.44 2.66
Shots/Game 34.12 36.12
Face Off Win % 53.9% 54.2%
Power Play % (Rank) 22.0% (13th) 21.2% (15th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 88.0% (1st) 81.3% (9th)
ES Corsi For % 43.86% 56.14%
ES PDO 113.44 86.56
PIM/Game 12:00 22:00

Goaltender #1

Category Frederik Andersen Linus Ullmark
Category Frederik Andersen Linus Ullmark
Record 35-14-3 26-10-2
Save % .922 .917
GAA 2.17 2.45

Goaltender #2

Category Antti Raanta Jeremy Swayman
Category Antti Raanta Jeremy Swayman
Record 15-5-4 23-14-3
Save % .912 .914
GAA 2.45 2.41

Game Notes

  • This game marks the first time the Avalanche and Hurricanes have met this season. The last time the Hurricanes and Avalanche faced off was February 28, 2020.
  • Goaltender Freddie Andersen’s status is still in doubt for tonight. Alex Lyon was recalled again from Chicago on Wednesday, per the AHL’s transactions report, so this could be another Antti Raanta start.
  • Raanta is 3-6-2 against the Avalanche throughout his career, with a .904 save percentage and 3.01 goals above average.
  • No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Nazem Kadri really has 72 points in 55 games. His previous career high was 61 points in 81 games, recorded during the 2016-17 season with the Maple Leafs.
  • Kadri, Mikko Rantanen (67 points), Cale Makar (65 points), Nathan MacKinnon (60 points), and Gabe Landeskog (59 points) are all playing at above a point per game pace. For the Hurricanes, only Sebastian Aho’s 58 points in 53 games meet that standard.
  • Cale Makar currently has a 13 game assist streak going, which is now the longest in Avalanche franchise history. It’s also the longest assist streak by any player in the NHL this season. That feels totally normal and not terrifying at all.