Hurricanes Blowing into Pepsi Center


The Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Carolina Hurricanes for the first of two meetings. Last season, the two teams split the series.


Scrabbling for Points

Carolina had a worse start than the Avalanche, if you can imagine. They didn’t win a single game in October. Right now, they’re in pretty much the same position as the Avalanche — second to last in their division. They have a 6-10-3 record compared to the Avs’ 6-9-5.

Both teams are at the stage where they realize crunch time isn’t waiting until February/March for them. They both realize if they get too far behind now, they’re not going to have a chance to come back later.

New Faces

Because of injuries, the Avs have called up Ben Street, Tomas Vincour and Andrew Agozzino from the Lake Erie Monsters. The Hurricanes just acquired center Andrej Nestrasil off of waivers. He literally just joined the team Friday here in Denver.

Keys to the Game

Simple Game

Everyone from Patrick Roy to Zach Redmond to the peewees going to Quebec for the Finals will tell you the Avalanche need to simplify their game. Redmond said:

"“During my time in the pros, when this is happening, usually you need to simplify everything. You need to get pucks to the net, go hard to the net, make sure you’re responsible in your own end. Maybe not make those cute plays all the time.”"

It’s all about getting pucks on the net — shoot, shoot, shoot. And, if you’re in doubt, shoot.


More from Mile High Sticking

For once, it’s not about if the defense is doing its job. The D-corps limited the offensive-minded Washington Capitals to 23 shots on net, which is practically a record.

No, right now it’s about how much offense the defense are creating for the Avs. Tyson Barrie leads all Avalanche in points. Crazy. yes, Barrie is an offensive defenseman, but the team includes Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Jarome Iginla, for Pete’s (Forsberg’s) sake. As long as the top two lines are struggling for the Avs, the D-corps has got to keep it up.

Head coach Patrick Roy said of offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie:

"“Last night [Barrie] reminded me of Ozolinsh. He generated offense on both ends of the ice. He’s very entertaining. He’s fun to watch. He skates well. Offensively you could tell, he’s having a lot of confidence.”"

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not


Obviously, the Colorado Avalanche’s top six is not hot. They’re definitely running hot and cold. Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon are especially are snake-bitten.

Coach Roy said of the top six:

"“It’s crystal clear that our top two lines haven’t produced like they want to. And they’re aware of that just like I’m aware of that. It’s clear that we need more from our top two lines. One thing I’m going to say – they’re working hard. Are they working well? They could be working a little differently. But sometimes when you don’t score, you try too many pretty plays.”"


Luckily for the Avs, the D-corps is running pretty hot. Erik Johnson is especially killing it. He’s playing big minutes, seeing action on both the power play and the penalty kill and is facing the top lines. Coach Roy said of him:

"“I’m very happy with [Erik Johnson]. EJ’s exposed every night playing against the top lines, and to me he’s performing at a high level right now. The more you give him, the better he’s playing.”"

The countdown is still 37 more wins to guarantee a spot in the playoffs for the Avs. The game starts at 7:00 pm MST.