Colorado Avalanche Must Retain Momentum vs Carolina

DENVER, CO - MARCH 7: Gabriel Landeskog
DENVER, CO - MARCH 7: Gabriel Landeskog /

The Colorado Avalanche host the Carolina Hurricanes for the first and only time this season. The teams will play each other only one more time this year.

The Colorado Avalanche and Caroline Hurricanes will meet for the first time this season tonight at Pepsi Center. Carolina is 4-4-2, while Colorado is 6-5-0.

The Colorado Avalanche are coming off a decisive 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks (four days ago) preceded by a decisive 7-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights the day before. Carolina is on a two-game losing streak with their Sunday game against the Anaheim Ducks having gone to the shootout.

Both the Avalanche and Hurricanes are in their second hockey homes — the Hartford Whalers relocated to Carolina in 1997, and, of course, the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Colorado in 1995.

However, as their current inception, the Avalanche and Hurricanes have met 30 times. Colorado holds the advantage with a 18-6-3-3(ties) record and 90 goals to Carolina’s 70. Last year the Colorado Avalanche took both games, with the first going into overtime.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: November, 7:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), FS-CR (Hurricanes feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Challenges vs Carolina Hurricanes

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The Carolina Hurricanes are a relatively young team, though a tiny bit longer in the tooth that the Avalanche. They also weirdly have two captains which is notable just because it’s weird.

Anyway, I asked Andrew Miller of Cardiac Cane to give me some insight into what challenges the Avalanche would have against his team. He commented on Stanley Cup winning goalie Scott Darling (formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks), who’s been having “some solid games on the road so far.” He has a 3-3-2 record overall.

Miller also remarked that shutting down Sebastian Aho and Jeff Skinner would be especially difficult. Skinner leads the team with nine points (7 goals, 2 assists). Aho has five assists.

What’s interesting is that both teams have young defensive corps. No one on the Hurricanes’ blueline is over the age of 26. While Colorado does have 29-year-old Erik Johnson, many of the other players are 25 or younger.

Nathan MacKinnon Must be Electric

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a sleepy first 10 games of the season. In those games he recorded just five points. His only goal came on a flukey pass that happened to carom into the net.

In the game against the Chicago Blackhawks, MacKinnon was the best he’s been in a long time — maybe ever. He was electric. He was so fast, and he seemed to see the ice ridiculously well.

We can’t have that game be a one-off for Nathan MacKinnon. He’s the highest-paid player on the team, and the expectation is that he’ll be the best player on the ice. Indeed, most of the Avalanche’s advertising –from fan gear to Hockey Fights Cancer — features MacKinnon.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog got moved to MacKinnon’s line against the Hawks, thus providing at least something of a catalyst. Hopefully they find more of that magic tonight.

Related Story: MacK's Almost Hat Trick

Hockey Fights Cancer Night

Tonight is the game that is designated for the November Hockey Fights Cancer. Every year the NHL aims to unite the hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families. Players wear lilac colored jerseys in warm ups. There are many lilac-colored merchandise options available for purchase, with proceeds going to the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.

One of the things the players do is they fill out placards stating who they fight for in this initiative. Many fight for a cure of for anyone afflicted with cancer. For some, the fight is more personal. For instance, Landeskog “fights” for a childhood friend named Basse whose family is affected by cancer.

In the gallery showcasing players holding their placards, J.T. Compher’s reads “Grandma Sarah and my dad,” Tyson Barrie’s reads “Grandma,” and Nathan MacKinnon’s reads “Mom.” Those are very personal fights, and I’d like to add my own “F*ck Cancer” for anyone affected.

If you’d like to make your own placard, you can download it here. You can also donate to the initiative here.

Next: Duchene Must Score in Next 3

The Colorado Avalanche play the Carolina Hurricanes just one more time, February 10, 2018 in Carolina.