(SportsNetwork.com) - Still unbeaten on the road, the Colorado Avalanche
return home on Friday night and look to extend their Denver success over the
hobbled Carolina Hurricanes.
The Avalanche are off to an 8-1-0 start and have won two straight since
suffering their first loss of the season on Oct. 17 versus a visiting Detroit
Red Wings team.
Colorado won for the fifth time in as many road games this year when it bested
the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 1-0 margin on Monday.
The Avalanche won just four road games all of last season, but surpassed that
mark thanks to Jean-Sebastien Giguere's second shutout in three starts this
season. He turned aside 34 shots, prevented the Penguins from scoring on any
of their seven power-play chances and helped hold Sidney Crosby without a
point for the first time in a game this season.
"You have to respect him, but at the same time as a goalie you have to be
ready," said Giguere about facing Crosby. "They threw a lot of stuff at me
tonight and I'm just happy to get the win."
Gabriel Landeskog scored the game's only goal for Colorado, which will play
six of its next seven at home.
Though Giguere is 3-0-0 on the season and has yielded just two goals on 103
shots, Semyon Varlamov is expected to get the start tonight. He has been solid
as well, going 5-1-0 with a 1.68 goals against average in six starts.
Varlamov is 3-0-3 with a 2.23 GAA in six career starts against Carolina.
Avs defenseman Erik Johnson is doubtful for this game after taking a shot off
his foot in Wednesday's practice.
Carolina, meanwhile, saw the prospect of getting its first victory in Denver
in over seven years take a hit on Thursday night when goaltender Cam Ward
exited a 3-1 setback to Minnesota early.
Ward was forced out of action just 4:07 into the contest after stretching out
to make a save. He is expected to miss 3-to-4 weeks with a lower body injury.
With backup Anton Khudobin already out with a lower body injury, Justin
Peters saw his first action of the season and made 19 saves on 21 shots.
"Peters came in and did a good job for jumping into that kind of situation,"
said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller.
Alexander Semin scored on the power play for the Hurricanes, who had begun
their current four-game road trip with back-to-back victories.
Carolina is expected to recall goaltender Mike Murphy from the American Hockey
League and he has appeared in just two NHL games, both with the 'Canes during
the 2011-12 season.
Peters is likely to get the start tonight and would be facing the Avalanche
for the first time. He figures to be better prepared for this contest.
"(The Wild) got two quick ones on me as soon as I came in," Peters said after
last night's loss. "I just tried to get my bearings. Once I got into the game,
I felt more comfortable. Just tried to prove to myself that I'm an NHL goalie
and instill that trust into the team here."
Carolina also saw forward Jeff Skinner exit with a lower body injury, leaving
his status for this game in doubt. The young forward has three goals and nine
points in 10 games this season.
Minus Ward and likely Skinner, the Hurricanes look to snap a 10-game winless
stretch in Colorado. The franchise is 0-7-1 with a pair of ties in 10 road
meetings with the Avs since a 3-2 overtime victory on Feb. 9, 1996.
Carolina has not won in regulation on the road in this series since Hartford
bested Quebec on Feb. 1, 1994.
The Avalanche have 14 wins and three ties in the past 20 meetings overall.
The Sports Network