The New Jersey Devils (25-30-12) extend their losing streak to nine games, their longest of the season, as they fall to the Colorado Avalanche (19-44-3), 3-2. It was another one-goal loss for New Jersey, their sixth in their last eight games overall, and it was also another unbelievably frustrating game. The Devils did outshoot the Avalanche 27-22 but that doesn’t mean a whole lot if you can’t score goals. The Devils did get goals from Taylor Hall (his 15th) and Stefan Noesen (his 5th), who both snapped goal-scoring droughts. Hall also led the team in shots on goal with four.
Nathan MacKinnon got Colorado on the board first in the second period and Hall’s goal tied the game at one, 42 seconds into the third. He ended the Devils’ scoreless drought, a drought that was only about five minutes away from being the longest in Devils history. Colorado quickly retook the lead on Ray Bourque’s 11th goal of the season a few minutes later but Noesen retied the game at two. François Beauchemin scored the game-winning goal with 1:14 left in regulation.
The Devils had a really brutal first period, amassing only three shots on goal and taking two minor penalties early on, and that period killed them. They did manage to kill all three Colorado power play opportunities. The team looked much, much better in the second and third, for what it’s worth. They did manage to score, which is something. Hall’s goal was only his second in his last 14 games and he did snap a seven-game drought; Noesen’s goal snapped his 15-game goal drought.
Cory Schneider had a decent night despite being screened on all three goals; he made 19 saves on 22 shots faced, posting a .864 save percentage. Schneider was incredibly frustrated in his postgame interview but can you really blame him? He carries this team on his back and doesn’t get any help. Calvin Pickard was also just a little better tonight, saving 25 saves on 27 shots, earning a .926 save percentage.
If the game hadn’t been as close as it was, I would have loved to see backup goalie Ken Appleby get a shot. The camera panned over him at the beginning of the game and he just looked so happy to be there on the bench, it was a sweet moment. If Keith Kinkaid’s injury keeps him out for a stretch of time, Appleby should get a chance to make his first NHL start.
I did miss a few moments because I kept switching back and forth between this game and the Rutgers/Northwestern Big 10 Tournament game (Rutgers got blown out, by the way, in case you were wondering). So it was a bad night all-around.
The Devils will close out this three-game road trip with a win against Arizona Saturday night; puck drops at 8PM.