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Avalanche at Devils preview

Colorado 2-4-1 in past seven games; New Jersey goes for fourth consecutive victory

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

AVALANCHE (24-13-4) AT DEVILS (15-19-6)

7 p.m. ET; MSG, ALT2, NHL.TV


The Game

The New Jersey Devils seek to extend their season-long winning streak to four games when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center on Saturday.

The Devils, 4-0-1 in their past five games, will be without center Jack Hughes, who will miss his second straight game because of an upper-body injury. 

Goalie Philipp Grubauer will make his fourth straight start for the Avalanche, 2-4-1 in their past seven games after going 9-1-1 in their previous 11. Grubauer made 24 saves in a 7-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday to end a personal five-game winless streak (0-4-1).


Players to watch

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 13 games.

Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, who will make his sixth consecutive start, is 4-0-1 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in his past five starts.


They said it

"The Devils are playing really well of late; they've tightened it up a lot defensively so we're going to have to work for our chances. St. Louis was very similar, and we knew we had to eliminate turnovers and some of the mistakes we were making and were able to create more offense because we were better defensively." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

"We're more of an aggressive team now. We get on the forecheck and hunt pucks and we're not spending a lot of time in our defensive zone. Playing offense is defense and I believe our success of late is a culmination of us playing more in the offensive zone, and then our team buying in and playing some solid defense." -- Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi

Matt Calvert -- Nazem Kadri -- Valeri Nichushkin

Matt Nieto -- J.T. Compher -- Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Andre Burakovsky

Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev

Injured: Colin Wilson (lower body)


Devils projected lineup

Pavel Zacha -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Nikita Gusev

Miles Wood -- Ben Street -- Wayne Simmonds

Jesper Boqvist -- Kevin Rooney -- John Hayden

Andy Greene -- P.K. Subban

Damon Severson -- Sami Vatanen

Will Butcher -- Mirco Mueller

Mackenzie Blackwood

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Connor Carrick

Injured: Jack Hughes (upper body), Jesper Bratt (lower body), Matt Tennyson (lower body)


Status report

Hughes and Bratt did not participate in the morning skate; each is day to day. ... Street will make his season debut. 


Stat pack

Makar, with nine goals, is one shy of tying the Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques season record by a rookie defenseman, held by John-Michael Liles (2003-04). … Girard has six assists in his past two games. ... Hischier, who turns 21 Saturday, has six points (three goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. ... Gusev has seven points (two goals, five assists) in a five-game point streak.

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