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Game Preview: Avalanche vs. Hurricanes

The Canes look to bounce back Thursday night.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes dropped their first game after the All-Star break Tuesday night. In the second of three home games after the break, Carolina looks to bounce back tonight against Colorado.

The Canes and Aves were two of the best teams in the NHL during the month of January. Carolina finished the month with a 8-2-1 record, and Colorado had a 9-3-0 record.

Both team stumbled after the All-Star break, with the Hurricanes losing a close one to the league-leading Canucks on Tuesday and the Avalanche dropping games against the Rangers and Devils.

The Avalanche are on game three of a six-game East Coast road trip. Of note, Colorado’s regulation loss versus the Devils snapped a 14-game point streak.

But do not expect a drop-off in play tonight with these two talented teams, especially as the teams regain their legs after the break.

Colorado is third in the NHL with 68 points and tied with Dallas for the Central Division lead.

Their strong offensive play drives the team. The Avalanche lead the league in goals, and two players, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, rank in the top ten in the NHL in goals scored.

The team ranks in the top ten in power play percentage, penalty kill percentage, shots per game, and fewest shots allowed per game.

The Avalanche are top-heavy in their scoring threats. In fact, Carolina’s leading scorer, Sebastian Aho, would rank fourth in scoring with Colorado.

MacKinnon is second in the league in scoring with 85 points, including 32 goals and 53 assists. He was the NHL’s First Star for the month of January. MacKinnon led the league in scoring with 12 goals and 14 assists.

Rantanen has 27 goals and 39 assists, and defenseman Cale Makar has 12 goals and 46 assists.

The Carolina penalty kill will have a tough test tonight. MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Makar rank in the top ten in the league in power-play points, while Valeri Nichushkin is second in the NHL with 13 power-play goals.

Alexandar Georgiev has carried the load between the pipes for Colorado. He has started the most games this season (41) and is tied for most wins (27).

Georgiev has a .899 save percentage and a 2.88 goals against average.

The biggest questions for the Canes are the starting goalie and Andrei Svechnikov’s status.

Will Pyotr Kochetkov get another nod after returning from the concussion protocol, or will Antti Raanta, winner of three of his last four starts and lover of PNC Arena, earn the start?

Stay tuned for updates in the crease.

There is still no word on the timeline for Svechnikov, and he was still in the yellow no-contact jersey yesterday at practice.

Seth Jarvis will play in his 200th NHL game tonight. He is the fifth player from the draft class of 2020 to reach 200 games played.

And if you are attending the game tonight, be mindful of the change to 7:00 PM.

Here’s how to check out the action:

  • Time: 7:00 PM ET
  • Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
  • TV: Bally Sports South with Mike Maniscalco, play-by-play; Tripp Tracy, color analyst; Hanna Yates, in-game reporter; Shane Willis, analyst.
  • Radio: 99.9 The Fan
  • Line: ML: CAR -135; PL: CAR -1.5 +180