Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Friday, October 23rd
Game 2: Friday, January 8th

Avalanche 1

(24-15-6, 54 pts)

Hurricanes 2

(12-24-7, 31 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 8, 2010

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 T
COL 0 0 11
CAR 1 1 02

R. Whitney (Hurricanes - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

C. Ward (Hurricanes - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .967

M. Cullen (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Avalanche-Hurricanes Preview


Despite their latest effort, the Colorado Avalanche have reason for confidence when playing a team from the Eastern Conference -- especially when that opponent is the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Avalanche look to bounce back from a rare interconference loss when they visit the league-worst Hurricanes on Friday night.

Matt Hendricks and Chris Stewart each scored Wednesday, but Colorado (24-14-6) couldn't hold an early lead and fell 3-2 at home to the New York Islanders for their second loss in three games.

"The main point for us was to come out and get two points," rookie forward Matt Duchene told the Avalanche's official Web site. "I don't think we played our best."

Even after Wednesday's setback, the Avalanche are 8-3-1 against the East, with five of those victories coming on the road. Colorado plays at Buffalo on Saturday.

"Maybe sometimes you get up a little more for them because you don't see those guys too often, but there's no secret formula for why we're playing so well against the East," forward Paul Stastny said.

Colorado has been particularly successful against the Hurricanes. The Avalanche have won six of seven in the series and are 5-1-0 with a tie all-time at Carolina since the franchise relocated from Hartford prior to the 1997-98 season.

Stastny has only one assist in his last four games overall -- matching his worst output over any four-game stretch this season -- but tallied two goals and an assist in Colorado's 5-4 home win over Carolina on Oct. 23. The recently-named U.S. Olympian has five points in three career games against the Hurricanes.

Craig Anderson made 32 saves for the Avalanche earlier this season against Carolina, improving to 2-0-1 lifetime versus the Canadiens despite a 4.02 goals-against average. He also stopped 32 shots in Wednesday's defeat.

Carolina (11-24-7) returns home after suffering its fifth loss in seven games, 4-2 at Nashville on Thursday. Rod Brind'Amour and Tom Kostopolous provided the goals in the defeat.

For a Hurricanes club with a league-low 29 points, the absence of some key players isn't making matters any easier.

Center Eric Staal, tied for the club lead with 27 points, is likely to miss a second straight game following the death of his sister-in-law. Sergei Samsonov could miss his third straight with an upper-body injury.

"Our margin for error, if you've got six NHL players out of the game, our margin for error is pretty thin," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said.

Knowing that, the Hurricanes need more production from the likes of the 39-year-old Brind'Amour, who has three goals and six assists during a disappointing season. He has three assists in his last five games versus the Avalanche.

Kostopoulos has scored two of his four goals on the season in his last two games.

Cam Ward could be back in net after making 30 saves against Nashville. He's 6-15-5 with a 3.06 GAA on the season and 1-2-0 with a 4.06 lifetime GAA against Colorado. Backup Manny Legace hasn't started since Dec. 12, but is 14-3-0 with a 2.07 GAA versus the Avalanche.