When the Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes met at the start of the season, Carolina couldn’t buy a save. Since then, a lot of things have changed on both sides. The Hurricanes have locked things down a fair bit defensively, while the Avalanche have had issues in net for a large portion of the year, so Thursday night’s matchup will be an interesting one.
Alexandar Georgiev will be back in net for the Avalanche against the Hurricanes. While he has not had the best year, he is on a nice run, as he’s had a save percentage above .920 in each of his last three starts. He’ll need to be ready to see a lot of rubber, because Carolina has always been a team that throws everything at the net. The Avalanche will certainly need a good performance coming off two straight losses where they lacked consistency from period-to-period.
There will definitely be at least one change up front, as you can expect Artturi Lehkonen to be put back on the top powerplay unit in place of Ross Colton. While Lehkonen did move to the top line in the third period at even strength, I could see him going right back on a line with Ryan Johansen tonight, at least to start the game. If the team struggles to create offensively, that could easily change.
On defense, there was no confirmation, but I expect Jack Johnson to come back into the lineup for the Avalanche, as the Hurricanes are a little heavier up front than the Devils. That means Sam Malinski will come out.
The Hurricanes are led up front by Sebastian Aho, who has 55 points in 46 games. Beyond him, they’re a very balanced team up front, with six forwards that have at least 30 points on the year.
Just a note here that the game will start at 5:00 PM MST. It was originally a 6:00 start, but the NHL changed that last week, so be ready to watch a little earlier.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Jonathan Drouin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Logan O’Connor
Artturi Lehkonen – Ryan Johansen – Zach Parise
Andrew Cogliano – Fredrik Olofsson – Joel Kiviranta
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Sam Girard – Josh Manson
Jack Johnson – Bowen Byram
Expected Carolina Hurricanes Lineup
Teravainen – Aho – Jarvis
Bunting – Kotkaniemi – Necas
Martinook – Staal – Fast
Lemieux – Drury – Noesen
Slavin – Burns
Skjei – Pesce
Orlov – Chatfield
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 24.9%, 9th in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 82.6%, 8th in NHL
Carolina Hurricanes Power Play: 28.2%, 2nd in NHL
Carolina Hurricanes Penalty Kill: 83.2%, 5th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: ESPN+, Altitude TV
Radio: 950 AM
Game Time: 5:00 PM MST