AVALANCHE (2-1-0) at DEVILS (1-2-1)
TV -- ALT (HD), MSG PLUS 2
Season series --
This is the first and only meeting between Colorado and New Jersey this season. The Avalanche beat the Devils in Denver last season, 3-1, Jan. 16.
Big story --
After dressing 15 skaters in Monday's loss to Pittsburgh and 16 in Wednesday's win in Buffalo, the Devils should have a full complement Friday. New Jersey's salary cap woes have been well-documented, but with Brian Rolston going on long-term injured reserve after undergoing sports hernia surgery Thursday, the Devils can spend $5 million (Rolston's annual salary) over the cap until he comes back. They signed Adam Mair on Tuesday and on Thursday called up centers Jacob Josefson
and Tim Sestito
along with defenseman Matthew Corrente
from AHL Albany.
The Avs arrived in New Jersey early Wednesday after picking up two points in a come-from-behind, 5-4 shootout victory in Detroit on Tuesday. They are in the middle of a five-game road trip that started with a 4-2 loss in Philadelphia on Monday. After playing at Prudential Center on Friday they will bus to Long Island for a game at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday before finishing up the trip in Manhattan against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Craig Anderson, who watched from the bench as Peter Budaj made 24 saves against Detroit, will get the start against the Devils. He allowed three goals in each of his first two starts this season. Defenseman John-Michael Liles already has 5 assists and Matt Duchene
has a goal and 3 assists.
After coach John MacLean berated his team Wednesday morning, mixing in several profanities in the process, the Devils finally went out and played the game they're capable of playing in Buffalo that night. Ilya Kovalchuk
provided the only goal and it came in overtime, but the Devils were on the Sabres from start to finish. They outshot Buffalo, 35-24, including 15-1 in the first period.
That's how New Jersey has to play to win, and maybe after three lackluster performances to open the season, the message has gotten through. Of course, injuries have hurt the Devils and they got more bad news after Wednesday's win -- defenseman Mark Fraser
fractured his hand in the game and is out 4-6 weeks after having surgery Thursday.
Who's Hot -- David Jones
had 2 goals and an assist in the Avs' win in Detroit. … Kovalchuk got on the board with his goal in Buffalo, and after two off games Brodeur made 24 saves to blank the Sabres.
Injury report --
Colorado center Peter Mueller
remains out indefinitely with a concussion. … The Devils' injury list is a long one -- Rolston is out after undergoing successful sports hernia surgery Thursday; Fraser is out after fracturing his hand and undergoing surgery Thursday; defenseman Anton Volchenkov
(broken nose, stiff neck) is questionable; defenseman Bryce Salvador
is on IR with a concussion.
Stat pack --
Colorado will have one more five-game road trip this season, when it plays all five teams in the Southeast Division from Dec. 3-11. … Patrik Elias
missed 10 games last season after suffering a concussion in Denver after being hit hard by Ryan Wilson
. … Devils forward David Clarkson
has not connected on any of his 14 shots on goal. Entering Thursday, only Buffalo's Thomas Vanek (16) has more shots on goal without scoring.
Puck drop --
Anderson, who at 29 years old finally has established himself as a No. 1 NHL goalie, expressed his appreciation for his profession in an interview with NHL.com Wednesday.
"You know, it's a pretty good life we have," Anderson said. "We go to the rink every day, we get paid to do what we love. There are millions of people that go to the rink or the softball field to play pick-up baseball or pick-up hockey that just love the game. We're very fortunate to be able to play the game to entertain people, and to get paid to do it is a bonus. When you're kids you never think about making money playing hockey. You just love the game so much and you battle through the minor leagues to get to this level to enjoy it. You have to enjoy it."