It very well could be. I know I’ve stopped picking the Hurricanes to make it that far (been fooled 3 years straight), but I’ve got the Avalanche going there. There’s little question these are two of the best the NHL has to offer.
The Avalanche might catch a break against the Hurricanes, as Rod Brind’Amour has said his star forward Sebastian Aho is doubtful to play. That means there’s a good chance Cal Burke, who was acquired from Colorado last week, will step into the lineup.
Look for Tomas Tatar to stay on the top line after getting moved there in the middle of Thursday’s game. That means Jonathan Drouin will drop down to the third line, and he’s taking it all in stride.
“Especially mid-game, you don’t have time to pout or get mad,” Drouin said after morning skate. “Every line is very good on this team, and they bring something different.”
Alexandar Georgiev will go in net for the Avalanche, but it’s unknown who the Hurricanes will start. Frederik Anderson isn’t quite ready to play because of an upper-body injury.
Jared Bednar had high praise for Carolina after morning skate.
“One of the better teams in the East,” he said. “Powerhouse team out there. Provide you with a lot of challenges in different ways in defending them. Trying to create some scoring chances against them is always difficult, so it’s a good challenge for us.”
While Carolina’s PK has not been statistically very good, they have been dangerous. They lead the NHL with 4 shorthanded goals already.
The game starts tonight at 7PM MST, a very reasonable time given the local start times the last 10 days.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Tomas Tatar – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Artturi Lehkonen – Ryan Johansen – Valeri Nichushkin
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Jonathan Drouin
Andrew Cogliano – Fredrik Olofsson – Logan O’Connor
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Sam Girard – Bowen Byram
Jack Johnson – Josh Manson
Expected Carolina Hurricanes Lineup
Bunting – Teravainen – Necas
Noesen – Kotkaniemi – Jarvis
Martinook – Staal – Fast
Lemieux – Drury – Burke
Slavin – Burns
Skjei – Peace
Orlov – Deangelo
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 15.4%, 21st in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 100%, 1st in NHL
Carolina Hurricanes Power Play: 28%, 9th in NHL
Carolina Hurricanes Penalty Kill: 73.9%, 19th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: Altitude TV, ESPN+
Radio: Altitude Sports Radio 92.5
Game Time: 7:00 PM MST