The Carolina Hurricanes will look to shake off an uneven performance when they take on the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.
“It feels like the home stretch and every game is going to be so crucial and you’re playing good teams every night. This is obviously a big week for us,” Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook said. “The Avalanche are coming in next. They’re a good team and we have to be ready on Thursday.”
The Hurricanes had a difficult time getting traction in their return from the All-Star break, falling 3-2 to the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
The Avalanche also have been slow coming out of the All-Star break, losing on back-to-back nights this week. Colorado lost 2-1 in overtime on Monday at the New York Rangers and fell 5-3 the next night at New Jersey.
“We have another step to take coming out of the break,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We’ve got to fix all of it, regardless of what it is.”
For Colorado, the game against the Hurricanes will be the third stop on a six-game road trip.
There’s no reason to panic for the Hurricanes, but coach Rod Brind’Amour would have liked to have seen a more complete performance against Vancouver.
“Third period, we played great,” he said. “Just unfortunate we weren’t able to have more of that in the first two periods.”
The Hurricanes, who are in the midst of a five-game homestand, had only 12 shots on goal through two periods against the Canucks. They average more than 33 shots per game on the season.
“We needed to have a little more urgency to be able to withstand some pressure,” said Martinook, who scored the game’s first goal in Tuesday’s loss.
The Avalanche have experienced similar issues with problematic slow starts.
“We’re chasing the game a bit,” Bednar said. “We did some really good things in the third period (Tuesday).”
Entering the third game since the layoff, the Avalanche want to see progress.
“Guys are trying, but maybe timing and execution is a little off, so hopefully that will come next game,” Colorado winger Mikko Rantanen said.
Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon’s point streak ended at 14 games on Tuesday. The Avalanche are counting on more from winger Artturi Lehkonen, who has played in four games since a November injury.
“He’s starting to feel more confident coming back from this injury and I’m sure he’ll get up to speed here,” Bednar said.
The Hurricanes will aim to avoid going back-to-back games without a point, something that hasn’t happened since Dec. 7 and Dec. 9.
Martinook has scored seven of his eight goals this season since the beginning of January. Seth Jarvis is riding a five-game streak with at least one assist, with his 24 assists this season through 49 games just one shy of his total last season.
The Avalanche defeated Carolina 6-4 on Oct. 21 at home. Ten players had at least one point for Colorado, with each team registering 27 shots on goal.
Carolina should have goaltender Antti Raanta available for the rematch. Pyotr Kochetkov, who was in net Tuesday, suffered the loss in October in Denver.
–Field Level Media
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