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Devils at Avalanche preview

Hischier returns for New Jersey; Colorado seeks nine-game point streak

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

DEVILS (9-16-5) at AVALANCHE (20-8-3)

9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT, MSG+, NHL.TV


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche will try to extend their point streak to nine games when they host the New Jersey Devils at Pepsi Center on Friday.

Pavel Francouz will make his third straight start for Colorado, which has gone 7-0-1 in its past eight games. Francouz is 6-0-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in his past nine games.

Nico Hischier will return to the lineup after missing three games because of illness and will play center on the Devils' top line with left wing Taylor Hall and right wing Kyle Palmieri. Hischier has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 25 games.

Louis Domingue will start in net for the Devils, who are 0-5-1 in their past six games and 0-3-1 since Alain Nasreddine was named coach after John Hynes was fired Dec. 3.


Players to watch

Devils forward Taylor Hall has four points (two goals, two assists) in the past four games.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in the past 12 games.


They said it

"It's been tough so far, but we are a good team. We're a good team when we play the right way, which is playing with speed. We weren't able to do that in a lot of games. We've shown that we are able to play with the big teams in the League when we play with speed. A win would bring back some confidence." -- Devils forward Nico Hischier 

"We've shown a lot of resiliency, we've shown a lot of mental fortitude through the injuries and through the tough stretches. Those are certainly championship qualities, but there is a long way to go." -- Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole


Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Jesper Boqvist -- Jack Hughes -- Wayne Simmonds

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Nikita Gusev

Miles Wood -- Pavel Zacha -- Jesper Bratt

Andy Greene -- P.K. Subban

Will Butcher -- Sami Vatanen

Mirco Mueller -- Damon Severson

Louis Domingue

Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratched: John Hayden, Michael McLeod, Kevin Rooney, Colton White

Injured: Connor Carrick (finger), Matt Tennyson (upper body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Andre Burakovsky -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nazem Kadri -- Mikko Rantanen

Valeri Nichushkin -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Calvert

Matt Nieto -- Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher

Nikita Zadorov -- Samuel Girard

Ryan Graves -- Ian Cole

Calle Rosen -- Mark Barberio

Pavel Francouz

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Vladislav Kamenev

Injured: Erik Johnson (lower body), Cale Makar (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)


Status report

Nasreddine said White would likely be assigned to Binghamton of the American Hockey League to make room for Hischier. … Makar worked off the ice and is expected to skate Sunday with the team off Saturday. … Johnson skated and could practice Sunday with a no-contact jersey. 


Stat pack

The Devils have been shut out five times this season, including 2-0 against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. ... Donskoi has nine points (four goals, five assists) in the past six games.

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