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No Love Lost Between Avs And Devils

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche continues its season-long, five-game road trip on Valentine's Day, taking on the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center, where it has won its last three games and earned a point in its last five. 

Colorado is 15-11-4 in the all-time series and won both matchups last season. The Avs are 6-6-4 on the road against the Devils and since Nov. 18, 2001, have only lost in regulation twice away form home.

 
Last Time Out

The Avalanche drew first blood when Joe Colborne scored his fourth of the season and first since Opening Night, but the Islanders scored five unanswered goals to take a 5-1 win on Sunday evening at Barclays Center. Colorado allowed two power-play goals to the Islanders, who had five man-advantage opportunities on the night.

New Jersey also enters Tuesday night's game coming off a loss, falling 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. Former Avalanche forward PA Parenteau scored the game's opening goal to get the Devils on the board first, but in a similar fashion to Colorado's contest, allowed four straight tallies to the Sharks.

 

Last Time They Met

Colorado and New Jersey last met over a year ago with the Avalanche taking a 3-0 win on Jan. 14, 2016 at Pepsi Center. Calvin Pickard recorded his first NHL shutout with 27 saves and Tyson Barrie picked up a shorthanded goal, while Matt Duchene and Carl Soderberg were the other goalscorers for Colorado.

Video: Keefe and Rycroft preview Tuesday's game

What to Watch

NHL Debut

Goaltender Jeremy Smith, who was recalled by the Avalanche on Wednesday, is slated to make his NHL debut against the Devils. Smith has posted a 2.57 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage for the AHL's San Antonio Rampage this season, both of which lead the team. 

Special Teams

In the last month, the Devils have had one of the league's top power-play units with nine goals recorded on its last 30 man-advantage opportunities (30.0 percent). Colorado ranks 14th on the penalty kill in that same time frame and was particularly strong in its last three games entering Sunday's contest against the Islanders, killing 10-of-11 of its opponents' power plays. However, after allowing two man-advantage goals to the Islanders on Sunday, the Avalanche will look to tighten up its shorthanded play as it takes on the Devils.

"We thought for some time now we've done a better job of staying out of the box, and because we did that, that our penalty kill started to gain some traction," head coach Jared Bednar said after Sunday's loss to New York. "But again tonight, [five] opportunities is just way too many, especially when you're playing a team that's playing real well lately." 

Devils Fighting for Playoff Position

New Jersey ranks seventh in the Metropolitan Division with a 23-22-10 record, but due to playing in the competitive Eastern Conference, sits just five points out of a wild card spot. The Devils look to make up some ground in the standings while playing a significant amount of home games during this current stretch. This is the third game of a five-game homestand for New Jersey, which plays only one road game between Feb. 12 and Feb. 27.

 

Player to Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Tyson Barrie

Barrie returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing the last four games and eight of Colorado's last 10 with a lower-body injury. He was a plus-1 with two shots and two blocked shots in 17:27 of ice time. In six games against the Devils throughout his career, Barrie has recorded two goals--including a game winner--two assists and 10 blocked shots.

New Jersey: Defenseman John Moore

Another defenseman who returned to his team's lineup on Sunday, Moore had missed 17 games with a concussion and saw 16:14 of ice time in New Jersey's game on Sunday, including 2:14 on the penalty kill.

 

The Details

Tuesday night's game between the Avalanche and the Devils begins at 5 p.m. MT and can be watched live on Altitude TV. Altitude Sports Radio AM950 will carry the radio broadcast, which can also be heard online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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