Tuomo Ruutu scores a goal from his knees past Jonas Hiller during the first period. (Courtesy: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE)

Game Preview: Canes @ Avs

After a disappointing (and questionable) overtime loss to the Ducks on Wednesday night, the Canes continue their three-game road trip in Colorado to take on the Avalanche. The Canes will try to beat the Avs for the first time in Denver in nine tries. Colorado, on the other hand, are among a several team battle in the western conference playoff race and getting two points against an eastern conference team on home ice is almost a requirement in order for them to make it into the playoffs. The Avalanche are currently tied for last in the northwest division with Edmonton, but are only 3 points back of 8th place Phoenix in the western conference. Despite winning their last game against the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday night, the Avalanche are 4-5-1 in their last 10, including a 5-game losing streak to some of the teams contending in the western conference race. Gabriel Landeskog broke a tie in the third period Tuesday, and David Jones and Kyle Quincey added goals in a 5-2 win. Colorado is led in scoring by Ryan O’Reilly, who has 39 points (14G, 25A) in 54 games. To read up more on the Avalanche, head on over to Mile High Sticking

As for the Canes, despite the disappointing loss on Wednesday night, captain Eric Staal felt like the team played well, saying, “Our compete level was there, we were on pucks, we were aggressive, we were attacking. Wardo was good when he needed to be.” Staal, who leads the team with 39 points, has played better under Kirk Muller, despite the early season struggles. Carolina is currently 12-12-6 under Muller, but the home success hasn’t yet translated to success on the road, as the team is 3-6-5 under Muller on the road. The Canes will look to begin to reverse that trend tonight.

Expect the lines for the Canes to remain unchanged from the game against the Ducks:

Ruutu – Staal – Tlusty

Bowman – Skinner – Jokinen

Nodl – Sutter – Dwyer

LaRose – Brent – Stewart

Gleason – Allen

Harrison – Faulk

Spacek – McBain



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