New faces on both sides as Canes host Avs

NHL Hockey
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The Carolina Hurricanes are in a hurry to get their new players up to speed.

Amid a tight race for a playoff spot, the urgency will be evident as center Vincent Trocheck and defenseman Brady Skjei take spots in the lineup after arriving earlier this week in trades.

Carolina’s next game comes against the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Trocheck and Skjei played in Tuesday night’s 4-1 home loss to the Dallas Stars and had a couple of days to regroup before their second game with the Hurricanes.

“Things settled down after the first few shifts,” said Skjei, who arrived in a trade from the New York Rangers. “I was trying not to think too much, just trying to play the game.”

First impressions were encouraging for Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. Trocheck came from the Florida Panthers.

“I thought they both were good,” Brind’Amour said. “I thought it’s tough for those first games, especially when you don’t really know our systems that well. But I thought they looked really good.”

The newcomers are bound to become more comfortable as they adjust to a new system.

“I try to just play my game and I’ll keep learning throughout this week,” Skjei said. “Soaking in as much as I can and getting to know the guys. All the guys have been great so far and welcoming me in.”

The Hurricanes also used goalie Alex Nedeljkovic in his NHL season debut against Dallas. He was in his third NHL game, this time arriving on a promotion from the Charlotte Checkers after injuries to James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.

“You’re not going to win every night,” Nedeljkovic said. “You’re not going to have your best every night … The season is not over after one game.”

He gave up a goal in the first minute, but that jarring moment didn’t stick with him.

“You’ve got to keep battling and you have to make that next save,” Nedeljkovic said.

The Avalanche are coming off Wednesday night’s 3-2 home victory against the Buffalo Sabres. Colorado has won four consecutive games as it begins a three-game road trip.

The Avalanche also are working in new players.

“It’s a good opportunity and I’m hungry to get there (to the playoffs),” said center Vladislav Namestnikov, who joined the team in a trade from the Ottawa Senators.

Goalie Michael Hutchinson came to the Avalanche in a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It’s exciting to be part of a team that’s doing something really special right now,” Hutchinson said.

Colorado’s roster also was adjusted for Wednesday’s game when forward Andre Burakovsky was ruled out with what the team described as illness.

Carolina is 0-2-1 in its last three home games.

Hurricanes right winger Sebastian Aho has a 13-game points streak, the longest stretch for a player with the franchise since the Hartford Whalers days (Blaine Stoughton in January-February 1982).

Aho scored in Tuesday night’s game, giving him a team-best 36 goals this season.

Teammate Andrei Svechnikov, a right winger, has an 11-game points streak. This is the first time a duo for the franchise has had streaks of 10 or more games during the same time frame since 1980.

–Field Level Media

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