The Colorado Avalanche finishes up a season-long, five-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, the second contest of a back-to-back set for the Avs. Colorado, which is 3-4-0 this season in the second game of such scenarios, is playing their second set of two games in two nights on this road trip and eighth of 10 during the 2016-17 campaign.
For Carolina, Friday's game is its first following its mandatory five-day bye week. The Hurricanes currently sit in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division and eight points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Avalanche is 16-6-6 all-time against the Hurricanes and 6-5-3 on the road in the overall series. However, Carolina has won the last six meetings in Raleigh.
Last Time Out
Colorado was shut out by the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 on Thursday night. Calvin Pickard made 30 saves in the effort, but the Avs took three penalties, one of which the Sabres capitalized on for their first goal.
The Canes dropped a 5-2 decision to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 11. Carolina trailed 3-0 after the opening period and was unable to claw back from the early deficit. Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk each scored for the Hurricanes, who finished 1-for-2 on the power play and allowed Dallas one man-advantage goal on four opportunities.
Last Time They Met
It's been well over a calendar year since the Hurricanes and Avalanche met. Carolina took a 3-2 win on Oct. 30, 2015 at PNC Arena. Colorado scored first, getting on the board early in the second period, but Carolina notched three straight to take a lead they would never relinquish. Cam Ward finished with 30 saves for the Hurricanes, and Ryan Murphy and Kris Versteeg each logged two points. Carl Soderberg and Alex Tanguay were the goal scorers for Colorado.
What to Watch
Hurricanes Coming off the Bye
Carolina returned from January's All-Star break with a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canes earned six of a possible 10 points in the five-game stretch leading up to their bye week and now look to take advantage of the rest as they begin a five-game homestand against Colorado.
Friday's matchup pits two of the league's top faceoff teams against each other in the Avalanche, which ranks second in overall faceoff win percentage (53.6 percent) and Carolina, which clocks in at fifth (52.0 percent). In the offensive zone, the Avs are tops in the league with a 56.5 percent success rate, and the Hurricanes hold the fifth-place spot with a 53.5 percent rate of success.
The Hurricanes rank first in the league with 524 takeaways, led by defenseman Jaccob Slavin, whose 47 takeaways are 13th in the league and tops amongst league defensemen. The Avalanche counters with Gabriel Landeskog, whose 44 takeaways on the season are good for 19th in the NHL despite the captain having played three to 15 games fewer than anyone ranked above him.
Player to Watch
Colorado: Defenseman Mark Barberio
Barberio is coming off a performance in which he registered a career-high six shots. In Carolina, he's facing a team against which he's scored two goals in six career contests, tied for his most goals versus a single opponent in his career.
Carolina: Right wing Sebastian Aho
The rookie was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday after notching five points (four goals, one assist) in Carolina's three wins over Philadelphia, Edmonton and the New York Islanders prior to the bye week. His 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) are tied for second on the team and ranks seventh among NHL rookies.
Friday night's game begins at 5:30 p.m. MT and can be watched live on Altitude TV. The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 or online at Colorado Avalanche.com.