Avalanche-Hurricanes Preview

The Carolina Hurricanes’ lack of offense has been one of their most obvious problems all season. Now that they’re putting more pucks in the net, the next lesson is to find a way to hold a lead.

Carolina failed to do that in its first meeting with the Colorado Avalanche, which continues a five-game road trip Tuesday night.

Only Buffalo has scored fewer goals than the Hurricanes (13-24-5), who went nine consecutive games scoring two or fewer before beating the Sabres 5-2 on Thursday.

Carolina then jumped out to a 3-1 advantage after the first period Saturday at St. Louis, but it allowed three of the next four goals in regulation before falling 5-4 in a shootout.

"I’ll take that point," coach Bill Peters said. "Would I have liked the other, the additional point? For sure, I would have. But we’ll learn from this game and move on."

He’s certainly not complaining about the increased scoring for the Hurricanes, who have gone 3-1-1 in January. That could be partly attributed to the return of Jordan Staal, who has three assists in six games after missing the first 35 with a broken right fibula suffered in the preseason.

Staal’s brother, Eric, has a goal in three straight and six of the last seven to give him a team-best 13.

"We’re a better team offensively now that we have some pieces back," Peters said. "We expected to score, and we’ve expected to score all year. I thought we could have had a couple more (Saturday), but we got a couple bounces, too. It will all even out in the end, but we should be able to score more consistently in the second half (of the season)."

Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist apiece against the Blues.

"There’s not much give up in us, whether we’re down two or up two," said Riley Nash, who also scored. "We always go for it, and that’s a good sign for a young team like us."

The Hurricanes scored the game’s first two goals and led 3-1 after the first period against Colorado on Nov. 22, but Zach Redmond’s second goal with 1:35 left in the third gave the Avalanche a 4-3 victory.

Nathan MacKinnon had three assists in that contest for Colorado, which has won three of the last four meetings. The Avalanche (18-17-8) have lost four straight matchups in Carolina, though three of those defeats came before 2011.

Colorado began its road trip with a 2-1 loss to Washington on Monday that snapped a three-game winning streak. Alex Tanguay scored on the power play for the Avs, who were outshot 32-14 through two periods.

”Obviously, we were not happy about the second period,” said coach Patrick Roy, whose team had won five of six. ”But the third period, I thought we bounced (back). We had a solid third, and we unfortunately had some bounces that didn’t go our way.”

Rookie Calvin Pickard will get the start in goal for this contest after Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves Monday. Pickard is 3-1-2 with a 2.10 goals-against average over his last six starts, most recently allowing four goals before Chicago added an empty netter in a 5-2 loss Dec. 27.

Carolina is likely to counter with Cam Ward, who made 31 saves in the first meeting.