The Carolina Hurricanes (6-7-4) will start a three-game Western Conference series and one of their toughest stretches of the year, tonight at 7 p.m. ET against the Colorado Avalanche (14-2-0) in Raleigh. The game will be televised on SportsSouth and 99.9 FM The Fan.Hurricanes Lineup Tlusty – E. Staal – Semin Gerbe – J. Staal – Ruutu Terry – Nash – Dwyer Bowman – Malhotra – Dvorak Sekera – Faulk Bellemore – Hainsey Murphy/Harrison/Gleason Peters [Murphy] Scratches: Ward, Khudobin, Skinner, Westgarth (Injured). Komisarek (Healthy). Avalanche Lineup O’Reilly – Duchene – Parenteau McGinn – Stastny – Landeskog Talbot – MacKinnon – Mitchell Cliche – Bordeleau – McLeod Hejda – Johnson Benoit – Sarich Holden – Guenin Varlamov [Giguere] Scratches: Tanguay (Injured).
The Avalanche and Hurricanes met once earlier this season with the Avs coming away with a 4-2 win.
The game was the first full game without Cam Ward and before the team started playing better in front of Justin Peters. Since then, Peters, although the negative results were never really his fault, has played strong, earning a shutout with two wins.
But the Avalanche are near the top of the league for a reason. Their offense, led by Matt Duchene, has been stellar, while Semyon Varlamov has been just as good in net, making up for a lack of experience on the blue line.
Stopping Duchene will be one of the top priorities for the Canes. He’s scored some highlight goals this year and has used his speed to kill teams. Depending on which d-pairing he’s up against, Duchene could have no problems burning the Canes’ defensemen.
As for the Hurricanes’ defensive pairings, there could be a change as Tim Gleason is nearing his return. Nothing has been announced, but it’s likely Gleason returns this game.
As for who’s coming out for the 30-year-old, it’s a tossup at this point, but I would expect Jay Harrison to be a healthy scratch if Gleason returns.
The Hurricanes’ offense had a more productive game against the Wild, scoring twice for the first time in five games and Jiri Tlusty got on the board.
But both goals were flukey scores, so the team will need to get more opportunities or score on their chances if they want to win.
A recap will be posted after the game.