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Devils prepared for fast-paced, offensive Avalanche

by Mike G. Morreale

AVALANCHE (9-14-1) at DEVILS (12-9-2)


NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils begin a stretch of five games in eight days Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center.

Devils center Adam Henrique said there's no time for a letdown against the Avalanche, who are 12th in the Western Conference and are coming off a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday.

"The Avalanche are a fast-paced offensive team and they have some deadly players over there," Henrique said. "Some of our losses have come against teams outside the playoff picture at this point. But we have to make sure our focus is at a high level no matter who we're playing. If you're not bringing your A game every night you will lose. Any team willing to put in the effort and battle can win in this League and I think that's an area we can improve."

The Devils, who have points in three of their past four games (2-1-1), are looking to end a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) against the Avalanche. Their last win against them was a 1-0 victory March 15, 2012 at Prudential Center.

"You have to worry about yourself and your own game and the challenge for us is just how good we can be every night so you can't [think about records] this time of the year," Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri said. "If you're happy with your effort than the results will come."

Henrique and Cammalleri have been offensive catalysts this season. Henrique has three goals and five points in the past four games and leads the Devils with 11 goals. Cammalleri leads them with 23 points, and his 16 assists have surpassed his total from last season when he had 15.

"I'm not surprised [he topped his assist total] because I think he used the dedication and willingness he had this summer to try and understand what was going on this season to his advantage as a player," Devils coach John Hynes said. "He's very talented but I think things around his talent have helped him to a good career and are really helping him this year."

The Avalanche had four players on the ice Tuesday for an optional skate, goaltender Semyon Varlamov, defenseman Brandon Gormley and forwards Alex Tanguay and Andrew Agozzino. Tanguay, who has missed the past 10 games because of a knee injury, could return to the lineup at some point during the four-game, six-day road trip that started Monday at the Islanders.

Avalanche right wing Jerome Iginla scored his 597th NHL goal Monday and needs three more to become the 19th NHL player with 600 goals.

"That doesn't matter right now," Iginla told "Honestly, it's just playing and trying to contribute and trying to help win games. That's something that hopefully will take care of itself."

Avalanche right wing Matt Duchene, who was a minus-2 against the Islanders, played despite being ill Sunday and missing the morning skate Monday. He is expected to play Tuesday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Andreas Martinsen - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

John Mitchell - Chris Wagner - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Nate Guenin - Zach Redmond

Reto Berra

Semyon Varlamov

Injured: Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back), Alex Tanguay (knee), Jesse Winchester (head)

Scratched: Brandon Gormley, Andrew Agozzino


Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Sergey Kalinin - Jacob Josefson - Tyler Kennedy

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - Damon Severson

Jon Merrill - Eric Gelinas

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Tuomo Ruutu (right foot fracture), Jiri Tlusty (upper body)

Scratched: Brian O'Neill, Stefan Matteau, David Schlemko

Status report: Mitchell, who has missed the past seven games because of an oblique injury, is expected to replace Agozzino. … Berra, who has a 2.39 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in 12 games this season, likely will make his first start in five games. Varlamov allowed four goals on 27 shots against the Islanders. "We need that extra save and we didn't get it on the road," Roy said. "It's hard to win if you're giving four goals on the road. We just need more from him [Varlamov]. He's our No. 1 guy and we're behind him, but we need and expect more from him." … Elias was on a line with Zajac and Palmieri at the morning skate after having success there in a 3-2 overtime win at the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. … Schlemko practiced the past two days after missing the past two games to be with his wife, Kristen, who gave birth to the couple's second daughter Friday. He will not play Tuesday.

Who's hot: Landeskog has two goals and eight points in the past six games. ... Schneider has allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of his past 12 games; he's 7-4-1 with a 1.82 GAA and .937 save percentage in that span.


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