After soundly defeating the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this week, the Colorado Avalanche are looking to end their four game homestand with a win against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Carolina is going through a dismal season, and will likely get a top three pick in June's Amateur Draft -- their highest selection since drafting defenseman Jack Johnson third overall in 2005 (Johnson was traded to Los Angeles a year later). Star Eric Staal is having an uncharacteristic season for the Canes, only scoring 13 goals on the season; Staal scored 33 goals last year. Reigning Rookie of the Year Jeff Skinner is having another solid season with 15 goals and 29 total points, but the team as a whole is missing the dynamic play of Staal and the offensive impact he brings to the club. Goalie Cam Ward continues to be one of the underrated players in the game, and has played in 48 games so far this year for Carolina, posting a solid .913 SV%.
For Colorado, Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get the start in net. Giguere has absolutely taken the starting role from Semyon Varlamov, and has played in eight of the last 10 games for Colorado with superb results. Offensively, Peter Mueller has returned and is making his presence felt. With five goals in the nine games since returning from injury, Mueller has helped fill the talent gap caused by Matt Duchene's knee injury suffered in late December. Despite their inconsistent play the past month, Colorado finds themselves still only three points out of the last playoff spot. A win against an underperforming Carolina team would make that goal more attainable.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT