The Colorado Avalanche face the Hurricanes in Carolina for their first game of an away back-to-back series. It’s also the first of a three-game roadie.
The Colorado Avalanche start yet another away back-to-back series tonight, this time against the Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll then fly to Nashville to face the Predators.
The Avs are jockeying for playoff positioning. They’ve won four in a row, which is helpful. Unfortunately, the team they’re trying to overtake, the St. Louis Blues, have won six in a row.
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Well, this back-to-back series represents the last of the hard month of April. They had a lot going on, starting with a four-game roadie before returning home to face some tough competition. The Stadium Series game and last weekend’s back-to-back on the road — no, February has not been easy for Colorado.
March, on paper, looks easier. So, if they can just get through this back-to-back, they might have a little break coming up to make their playoff push.
And it starts tonight in Carolina.
All of a sudden, the Avalanche’s special teams play has improved. It shouldn’t have, considering many of their key players are injured. However, in the home game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Avs scored two power play goals and didn’t let in a goal on the penalty kill.
Hopefully that marks a turning point for the team’s special teams, which has been a source of contention for most of the season. Plus, maybe new guy, Vladislav Namestnikov, will get a chance to play on the penalty kill since that’s his specialty.
The Colorado Avalanche has been a slightly better team on the road than at home this season. They’ve gone 17-9-5 in Pepsi Center and 20-9-2 on the road. It’s not a significant difference, but noteworthy just the same.
It might be because of team chemistry. That’s very important for playoff contending teams, and they get to promote team chemistry on the road. Anyway, here’s another chance for them to solidify their road play.
The Avs are probably not going to face a 40-year-old Zamboni driver tonight which is good because he’s apparently a wizard in goal. They’re more likely to face one of Carolina’s call-ups. I’m interested to see of the Avs give other new guy, Michael Hutchinson a chance, or if we’ll see Pavel Francouz in back-to-back performances.
Regardless, I wanted to bring up the backup situation because of the slight controversy EBUG David Ayre caused. He’s the Leafs’ Zamboni driver — and it’s notable that he practices regularly with the Leafs — but he suited up for the Hurricanes when both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured.
It was cool. He made eight saves to backstop the Hurricanes to a 6-3 win over the Leafs. Feel good story of the year. The EBUG was last employed in 2018, so it’s not a major game-changer.
Yet the NHL wants to examine whether it’s ok for such situations to arise. Listen, NHL, stop killing the fun. Let an EBUG rule every two years or so for one game in an 82-game season.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game Time: Feb. 28, 5:00 pm MT
TV: ALT, FS-CR (Canes’ Feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5/AM 950)
Tonight marks the second and final meeting between the two teams. Colorado fell to the Hurricanes at home 3-1 on December 19.