3/9/17 Game Preview: New Jersey Devils vs. Colorado Avalanche

The New Jersey Devils (25-29-12) will look to snap their season-high eight-game losing streak when they take on the Colorado Avalanche (18-44-3) in their second and final meeting this season. The Devils won their previous meeting at home last month, 3-2; Pavel Zacha, Andy Greene, and Kyle Palmieri all scored goals and Cory Schneider made 28 saves on 30 shots faced, posting a .933 save percentage. Mark Barberio and Mikhail Grigorenko scored for Colorado, and Jeremy Smith made 37 saves on 40 shots, posting a .925 save % in his NHL debut.

Calvin Pickard is in net for Colorado; he had a shutout in the only game he’s played against New Jersey. Cory Schneider gets the start in net tonight for New Jersey but Keith Kinkaid is out with a right knee injury so who’s the backup? Ken Appleby, of course.

The Devils seemed to shock everyone last night when they announced the recall of goaltender Ken Appleby (and forward Kevin Rooney). While Schneider gets the start tonight, I would like to see Appleby get some net time. The Devils certainly aren’t making the playoffs and their next two games are against Colorado and Arizona, who both sit at the bottom of the league. Giving Appleby some playing time in games that don’t mean a whole lot (in terms of playoff contention) could be a smart move.

New Jersey will also look to get their offense going tonight: they have been shutout in their last two games, and three times in their last four. They are coming off of a 2-0 loss to Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday. Colorado is coming off of a 3-1 win against Carolina; Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, and Nathan MacKinnon all scored goals. Pickard was in net and made 25 saves on 26 shots faced (.962 save %).

Since their last meeting, New Jersey has gone 1-7-2 and is on an eight-game losing streak. Their lone win and both overtime losses came at home and they have lost all three road games in that span in regulation, including a 1-0 shutout in Washington. Colorado has a 3-7-1 record but is 2-2-1 at home in that stretch.

Colorado has one of the worst power plays in the league, only 13.5% successful, only ahead of the Red Wings. New Jersey’s, in comparison, is better at 17.6%; they have gone four straight games without scoring (nine opportunities) but scored 12 power play goals in the 11 games prior. The Devils are 80.9% successful in killing penalties (19th); the Avalanche are 78% successful. It should be another slow game: both teams don’t take too many shots either.

But there’s 16 games left and tonight is a late one; puck drops at 9PM.

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