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Devils at Avalanche preview

Colorado attempts to climb in Western wild-card chase; New Jersey aims for third straight win

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DEVILS (27-36-9) at AVALANCHE (30-29-12)

3 p.m. ET; SN1, ALT, MSG+, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Colorado Avalanche will try to gain ground in the Western Conference wild-card race when they play the New Jersey Devils at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

The Avalanche, who have lost two straight and are 2-5-0 in their past seven games after going 6-1-1 in their previous eight, are six points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Colorado has a game in hand.

Philipp Grubauer will start in net for the Avalanche. He's 11-9-3 with a 3.02 goals-against average, a .901 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games (24 starts) this season.

The Devils, who have been eliminated from playoff contention, will try to win their third straight game for the first time since Dec. 27-31.

 

Players to watch

Devils forward Kenny Agostino has five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past five games.

 

They said it

"It's a credit to the guys in our room, the older guys, the leadership guys, because they set the culture." -- Devils coach John Hynes on their comeback 3-2 shootout win at the Vancouver Canucks on Friday

"Being consistent is a skill as a player. We have good players, really good players. But being able to do it every night is a skill. We've got to work on it, we've got to mature to the point where we're good every night, not just every once in a while." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

 

Devils projected lineup

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Stefan Noesen

Kenny Agostino -- Kevin Rooney -- Kyle Palmieri

Drew Stafford -- Blake Pietila -- Joey Anderson

Eric Tangradi -- Michael McLeod -- Nick Lappin

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Will Butcher -- Connor Carrick

Colton White -- Steven Santini

Cory Schneider

Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratched: Kurtis Gabriel, John Quenneville, Sami Vatanen, Egor Yakovlev

Injured: Nathan Bastian (upper body), Jesper Bratt (lower body), Taylor Hall (lower body), Nico Hischier (upper body), Mirco Mueller (upper body), Miles Wood (lower body), Pavel Zacha (upper body)

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Derick Brassard -- Nathan MacKinnon -- J.T. Compher

Colin Wilson -- Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen

Alexander Kerfoot -- Tyson Jost -- Matt Calvert

Gabriel Bourque - Andrew Agozzino -- Sven Andrighetto

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ian Cole -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Patrik Nemeth

Philipp Grubauer

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Ryan Graves

Injured: Mark Barberio (leg), Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Gabriel Landeskog (upper body), Matt Nieto (leg) 

 

Status report

The Devils didn't practice Saturday after arriving from Vancouver.

 

Stat pack

Butcher has four assists in a four-game point streak. … Rantanen has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games.

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