After starting its four-game homestand with a win on Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche (30-27-12) wraps up its season series against the Carolina Hurricanes (37-24-7) at Pepsi Center on Monday.
The Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise is 75-46-24 all-time against the Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers organization, which includes a 46-17-10 record at home. Colorado has earned points in each of the past 15 home games against the Hurricanes (12 wins, two ties, one overtime loss).
Following the outing, the Avs will remain in Denver to host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
Last Time Out
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer was perfect in net as he stopped all 18 shots he faced to help the Avalanche beat the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-0 shutout on Saturday. After a scoreless first period, Nathan MacKinnon battled to find the back of the net early in the middle frame, and he went on to factor in all three goals scored by Colorado. MacKinnon added assists on a power-play marker from Mikko Rantanen in the third period and on Gabriel Bourque's empty-netter at the end of the contest. The Avalanche killed the only penalty it took and outshot Buffalo 43-18.
Carolina topped the Nashville Predators 5-3 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. Nino Niederreiter lit the lamp twice in the first period to begin the outing for the Canes. From there, the Hurricanes and Predators traded goals for the rest of the matchup, with Justin Williams, Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho also tallying in Carolina's victory. Netminder Petr Mrazek made 31-of-34 saves, and the Hurricanes' Teuvo Teravainen and Brett Pesce both registered two assists in the contest. Carolina went 2-for-5 on the power play while killing off all three short-handed chances.
Last Time They Met
The Avalanche beat the Hurricanes 3-1 at PNC Arena on Oct. 20 in the first matchup of the season. Philipp Grubauer turned aside 42 shots in the victory, which also featured a three-point performance from Nathan MacKinnon (one goal, two assists) and two goals from Gabriel Landeskog. Aho and Teravainen recorded helpers on the Hurricanes' only goal by Micheal Ferland in the third stanza. The Avs held Carolina scoreless on five power-play opportunities, while converting on 1-of-4 man advantages themselves.
What To Watch
Avs Against The East
After Saturday's win over Buffalo, the Avalanche is 15-9-6 against Eastern Conference clubs this season, which includes an 8-4-2 mark on home ice. The club has gained points in its last three home games against teams from the opposing conference (2-0-1) and will only face an Eastern foe once more this year when New Jersey visits Pepsi Center on Sunday. This is the second season in a row that Colorado has a winning record against the Eastern Conference after going 19-11-2 (11-4-1 at home) during the 2017-18 campaign.
Both Colorado and Carolina feature high-producing, Finnish-born players. For the Hurricanes, Rauma, Finland, native Sebastian Aho leads the team with 77 points (30 goals, 47 assists). Second behind him is Teuvo Teravainen, who hails from Helsinki, and has generated 18 goals and 45 assists so far this campaign. For the Avs, Nouisainen is the hometown of Mikko Rantanen, who ranks second on the team in scoring with a career-high 86 points (30 goals, 86 assists) this season. Rantanen most recently picked up his career-best 30th goal on Sunday against Buffalo, and his 15 power-play markers rank tied for fifth most in the NHL. All three players have a connection with one another as they've played together on the international stage with Team Finland. Rantanen and Aho were teammates at the 2015 and 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship tournaments and the two played with Teravainen at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
Players To Watch
Colorado: Defenseman Nikita Zadorov
Saturday's game marked Zadorov's return from a one-game absence due to an upper-body injury. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound defenseman registered one hit against the Sabres to extend his team lead to 180 on the season. Zadorov also paces team blueliners with a plus-13 rating and has accumulated 11 points (seven goals, four assists) this year. He needs one goal to set a new career high for tallies in a campaign.
Carolina: Defenseman Jaccob Slavin
Slavin, an Erie, Colorado native, returns to his home state to play his sixth-career contest against the Avalanche. The blueliner has registered two assists in five outings against the Avs and owns a plus-2 rating. Slavin recorded five shots on goal in the last matchup between the two clubs on Oct. 20 and has produced 28 points (six goals, 22 assists) this season, second-most among team defensemen.
Monday's matchup between the Avalanche and Hurricanes is slated for 7 p.m. MT. The game can be watched locally on Altitude and streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.