The Colorado Avalanche looks to win the second half of its back-to-back set as it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
The Avs defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Wednesday at United Center to open the consecutive-game series. After a 1-1 tie in the first period, Colorado scored three unanswered goals and goaltender Pavel Francouz made 31 saves to bring the Avs the win. It marked the fourth straight outing that Francouz has made more than 30 saves and the third straight that he has only allowed one goal.
Carolina is coming off a 6-3 victory at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. The Hurricanes scored a goal in each period and four in the second period--three of which were unanswered--to grab the win. Colorado is the last stop of a five-game road trip for Carolina, with the club sporting a 3-0-1 record so far on the trip.
Avalanche vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Avalanche assistant coach Nolan Pratt was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in 1993 (No. 115 overall) and played 157 games with the Hurricanes/Whalers franchise, including 149 in Carolina… Colorado head coach Jared Bednar played parts of six seasons with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and was a coach for South Carolina for seven years. He was the head coach of the Stingrays for two seasons (2007-2009), winning a Kelly Cup championship in 2008-09… Carolina blueliner Jaccob Slavin was born in Denver and played at Colorado College from 2013-2015... Hurricanes assistant coach Dean Chynoweth was previously the head coach of Colorado's American Hockey affiliate with the Lake Erie Monsters (2012-2015) and San Antonio Rampage (2015-16).
The Avs/Nordiques own a 75-47-24 all-time mark against the Hurricanes franchise and a 20-8-6 record since moving to Colorado in 1995. In the 17 matchups in Denver, the Avalanche has a 12-2-3 edge in the series.
The Avalanche and Hurricanes split the two-game set during the 2018-19 campaign, with each winning as the visiting team. Colorado defeated Carolina 3-1 on Oct. 20 but fell 3-0 at home on March 11.
Philipp Grubauer is expected to start between the pipes after goaltender Pavel Francouz started on Wednesday at Chicago… Defenseman Erik Johnson is a possibility to return to the lineup after missing 11 games with a lower-body injury.
Johnson (lower body) has continued to skate and progress while the Avalanche was on the road this week… Cale Makar continues to recover from an upper-body injury and has been skating… Colin Wilson (lower body) underwent surgery and is out of the lineup indefinitely.
SCOUTING THE HURRICANES
Carolina has a 21-11-2 record this season and 44 points to sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes have scored six or more goals in six games so far this season, with three of those coming in their last five contests and three coming on the road.
The Canes are tied with the eighth-highest goals per game in the league, scoring 3.26 goals over 34 contests. The Hurricanes kill 85.9 percent of their penalties to rank second in the league, and they rank fifth on the power play by converting on 24.2 percent of their man-advantage chances.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Andrei Svechnikov
Andrei Svechnikov is the leading point-getter for the Hurricanes after registering 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games. He ranks tied for 15th in league scoring and is averaging 1.03 points per game, tied for 21st overall. His three game-winning goals are second-most on Carolina, and he scores on 14.9 percent of his shots to rank third on the squad.
Svechnikov is in his second NHL season with Carolina after being selected by the club in the first round (No. 2 overall) of the 2018 draft. He has played in every regular season game so far in his career for a total of 116 outings, tallying 72 points (34 goals, 38 assists) in that time.
He also has two lacrosse-style goals in the NHL this season--including one last game in Winnipeg--to become the first player in league history to successfully score with such a maneuver.
Colorado has a 3-2-0 record in the second game of a back-to-back series this year.
Mikko Rantanen became the fifth Avalanche player to notch 10 goals this season after his empty-net marker against the Blackhawks. Nathan MacKinnon (21), Joonas Donskoi (14), Andre Burakovsky (13) and Nazem Kadri (11) are the team's leading goal scorers and the only other Avs players with 10 or more tallies on the year.
Andre Burakovsky scored his 13th goal of the season on Wednesday in Chicago. He has now scored more goals this year than in each of his last three NHL seasons. The last time Burakovsky tallied more than 12 goals in a single campaign was 2015-16 when he had a career-high 17 with the Washington Capitals.
The Avalanche and Hurricanes will meet one more time this season on Feb. 28 in Raleigh… Nathan MacKinnon has scored 35 even-strength points this season to tie Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins) for the most in the league… The Avs have scored 3.62 goals per game to lead the NHL… Colorado has won 12 games after leading in the first period (12-0-2), tied for the most in the league (four others)… The Avalanche is 10-1-2 against Eastern Conference opponents and 4-0-1 versus the Metropolitan Division… Colorado is wrapping up its sixth back-to-back set of the season and is looking to sweep its third straight consecutive-night series… The Avs are starting a two-game homestand that concludes on Saturday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.