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Hurricanes at Avalanche preview

Carolina aims to avoid third straight loss; Rantanen looks to maintain scoring touch for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

HURRICANES (4-4-2) at AVALANCHE (6-5-0)

9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-CR, NHL.TV


The Game

Goaltender Cam Ward will start for the Carolina Hurricanes, who open a two-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday, attempting to end a two-game losing streak (0-1-1). The Hurricanes are 1-3-1 in their past five games but are 3-2-0 on the road this season.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov will start for the Avalanche, 2-1-0 in their past three games and 4-1-0 at home. They leave Friday on a 10-day road trip with games against the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and two games with the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm for the SAP NHL Global Series.


Players to watch

Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has a point in three consecutive games (two goals, one assist) and seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past six games. He leads the Hurricanes in scoring with nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 10 games.

Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen leads Colorado in scoring with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 11 games. He had three points (two goals, one assist) in a 6-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.


They said it

 "I think I've played better and better every day, and I think the goals are coming. I just need to stay positive, just relax my game. Obviously, work hard, but still when I get the chances, just relax. I try to help this team win in other ways too." -- Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho, who has no goals this season after scoring 24 last season

"Consistency is the biggest thing right now. We're not the type of team that can have one or two guys take the night off and still win. We need everyone pulling in the same direction every night. -- Avalanche forward Matt Duchene


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Teuvo Teravainen -- Victor Rask -- Justin Williams

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Josh Jooris

Joakim Nordstrom -- Marcus Kruger -- Brock McGinn

Jaccob Slavin -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Haydn Fleury -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Klas Dahlbeck

Cam Ward

Scott Darling

Scratched: Patrick Brown, Roland McKeown

Injured: Brett Pesce (concussion), Lee Stempniak (back)

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Sven Andrighetto -- Matt Duchene -- Rocco Grimaldi

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

A.J. Greer -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Nail Yakupov

Anton Lindholm -- Erik Johnson

Patrik Nemeth -- Tyson Barrie

Andrei Mironov -- Mark Barberio

Semyon Varlamov

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Chris Bigras, Nikita Zadorov

Injured: Gabriel Bourque (upper body), J.T. Compher (broken thumb), Tyson Jost (lower body), Colin Wilson (hip)


Status report

Van Riemsdyk will take Pesce's place on the top pair with Slavin. Pesce did not make the trip ... Brown and McKeown were recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League.


Stat pack

The Avalanche are 11-0-3 in their past 14 home games against the Hurricanes, 10-0-1 at Pepsi Center.

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