Riding an eight-game point streak (7-1-0), the Colorado Avalanche turns its attention to the New Jersey Devils on Friday to conclude a three-game homestand. The Avs are 1-0-1 on the home stay, falling 5-4 in overtime to the Calgary Flames on Monday and defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 on Wednesday.
Mikko Rantanen scored two goals and Pavel Francouz made 32 saves to lead Colorado to a 3-1 win over the Flyers, becoming the first team in the Western Conference to reach 20 wins this season. Matt Calvert scored the other goal while six more Avalanche players earned an assist.
The Devils (9-16-5) are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. MacKenzie Blackwood was in net for New Jersey and stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced.
It is the first of two matchups between the Avs and Devils this year. Colorado won both meetings last season, including a 3-0 shutout in Denver on March 17.
Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
COLORADO-NEW JERSEY CONNECTIONS
Before relocating to New Jersey, the Devils were the Colorado Rockies for six seasons from 1976-82 ... New Jersey defenseman Will Butcher, a University of Denver product, was drafted by Colorado in 2013 (fifth round, 123rd overall)... Ian Cole and New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri were teammates at Notre Dame in 2009-10.
The Avalanche won both matchups against New Jersey last season, including a 3-0 victory in their last meeting, on March 17 at Pepsi Center. Tyson Barrie scored two goals in the second period, Nathan MacKinnon recorded the third goal and Philipp Gruabeur stopped all 22 shots he faced. Colorado is 9-3-0 in its last 12 meetings with the Devils.
Since relocating to Denver in 1995, the Avalanche is 18-14-4 against the Devils. Their shared history is best known for the 2001 Stanley Cup Final, which the Avalanche won in seven games.
Philipp Grubauer (lower body) skated for the fourth straight day on Thursday. Bednar said the goaltender is "probable" to be in the lineup on Friday, but not necessarily as the starter.
Cale Makar (upper body) will not be available versus the Devils, but head coach Jared Bednar said the rookie defenseman could return on Monday when the Avalanche begins a two-game Central Division road trip at the St. Louis Blues… Erik Johnson (lower body) skated in red, non-contact jersey before practice on Thursday… Colin Wilson (lower body) is out indefinitely.
SCOUTING THE DEVILS
The Devils have lost six straight games, including one in a shootout. Since their last win, a 6-4 final over the Canadiens on Thanksgiving, New Jersey has scored nine goals in its last six contests.
Taylor Hall leads the team with 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) while second-year goalie Mackenzie Blackwood is 8-9-4 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against average.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Taylor Hall
Taylor Hall has four points (two goals, two assists) in the last four games. The 2018 Hart Memorial Trophy winner has had success against the Avalanche, recording 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 27 outings.
Since joining the Devils in 2017-18, Hall has recorded at least one point in all five meetings against the Avs, with seven total (two goals, five assists). For his career, he has 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in games against Colorado.
The Avalanche is just one of six teams with at least six players who have recorded 20 or more points this season.
With Wednesday night's win, the Avs extended their point streak to eight games (7-0-1). It ties their season high which was set Oct. 3-19 (7-0-1).
Colorado has scored 114 goals this season, the second-most in the NHL behind Washington, which has played two more games.
Friday will be the first of two meetings between the Avalanche and Devils this year. The second and final will be in New Jersey on Jan. 4… The Avs are 9-1-2 in games against Eastern Conference opponents… Since Nov. 27, the start of the Avs eight-game point streak, Colorado leads the NHL in blocked shots with 133… Friday's matchup is one of two "Friday the 13th" games for the Avalanche this season. Colorado has only played on a Friday the 13tth five previous times since moving to Denver and the club is 2-2-1 in these matchups.