The Colorado Avalanche starts its three-game road trip in New Jersey on Saturday against the Devils, its first outing away from Pepsi Center in 2020.
Colorado beat the St. Louis Blues 7-3 on Thursday, snapping a three-game slide. The Avs scored three power-play goals, a season high, in a 42-shot win over the defending champions.
Nathan MacKinnon recorded four points (one goal, three assists) on the night, as did Sam Girard with four assists. Nazem Kadri scored twice and Cale Makar added two more points (one goal, one assist).
The Devils hung on for a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders on Thursday, tying the game late in the second period before taking the lead just over a minute into the final frame on a Nico Hischier goal.
It is the second and final meeting of the season between the Avalanche and Devils. Colorado won the first matchup 3-1 on Dec. 13 at Pepsi Center.
Avalanche at New Jersey Devils
Prudential Center | Newark, N.J.
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... Avs assistant general manager Craig Billington was drafted by the Devils (No. 23 overall, Round 2) in 1984 and a played five-plus seasons in New Jersey (1985-1993).
The Avalanche beat the Devils 3-1 on Dec. 13 at Pepsi Center, Colorado's third straight win over New Jersey. During this current streak, the Avs have outscored the Devils by a combined score of 11-4, as Nathan MacKinnon has registered seven points (two goals, five assists) over all three games. Gabriel Landeskog scored a hat trick in last year's meeting at Prudential Center.
Since relocating to Denver in 1995, the Avalanche is 19-14-4 against the Devils. The teams' shared history is best known for the 2001 Stanley Cup Final, which the Avalanche won in seven games.
The Avalanche did not practice on Friday… Philipp Grubauer has started each of the previous three games for Colorado… Mark Barberio and Vladislav Kamenev were the healthy scratches against the Blues on Thursday.
Colin Wilson (lower body) is out indefinitely after having surgery.
SCOUTING THE DEVILS
The Devils (15-19-6) are in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division but the team has been on a roll recently. Since losing to the Avs 3-1 in their first meeting on Dec. 13, New Jersey is 6-2-1.
The Devils have averaged 3.11 goals-per-game in their last nine contests, a jump from their season-mark of 2.55. They're also averaging 2.78 goals against in that timeframe, compared to 3.38 overall. Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is 6-1-1 in his last eight starts, with a .920 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Kyle Palmieri
Kyle Palmieri leads the team with 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists), including nine (four goals, five assists) in the last nine games.
Palmieri has eight points (four goals, four assists) in 17 career games against the Avalanche.
The Avalanche scored seven goals for the fourth time this season on Thursday, tied for the second-most such performances in the NHL (Pittsburgh: five).
Nathan MacKinnon's four-point game (one goal, three assists) against the Blues on Thursday marked his ninth four-point performance since 2017-18, tied for the second-most among all players in that span (Nikita Kucherov: 11).
Nazem Kadri is expected to play in his 600th career NHL game. He has recorded 384 points (176 goals, 208 assists) in his first 599 outings, including 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 38 contests with the Avalanche this season.
The Avalanche holds a 7-3-0 lead in the last 10 meetings with the Devils… The Avalanche has won 24 of the 30 games where its scored at least three goals (24-4-2)… Sam Girard's four-assist night on Thursday brought him to 20 points on the season (one goal, 19 assists), giving the Avs nine 20-point players, tied for the most of any team… Cale Makar finished with two points (1g/1a) on Thursday and now has 31 points this season, surpassing Pierre Lacroix (30 points) for fourth place in franchise history in points by a rookie defenseman… Makar is the first defenseman to record his first 30 career regular-season points in 33 games or fewer since Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom in 1991-92 (33 GP).