New Jersey Devils (28-29-10) at Colorado Avalanche (30-26-11)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 12, 2015, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Colorado Avalanche / New Jersey Devils --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The New Jersey Devils return to the ice looking to bounce back from a disappointing effort on Tuesday night in Minnesota. New Jersey had been playing some pretty good hockey recently, but they faced a Wild club that has been playing just as well and also had a sense of desperation. Cory Schneider had a rough outing in this one, allowing five goals on 30 shots before being pulled in favor of Keith Kinkaid. It’s one of the few times this season that the Devils didn’t get above average goaltending from Schneider, and it proved to be too much to overcome in this one. New Jersey had a strong opening period, firing 15 shots on goal, but still found themselves trailing 1-0. The Devils have had a lot of games this season where they’ve struggled to get to 20 shots for the game, so having 15 in the opening period was impressive by their standards. Minnesota started to take control in the second period, scoring twice in the first 4:23 of the period to take a 3-0 lead. Dainius Zubrus got the Devils on the board with his third goal of the season, but the Wild answered right back three minutes later. Scott Gomez added his sixth goal of the season in the third period but this one was an embarrassing 6-2 loss for the Devils. It will be interesting to see whether or not Lou Lamiorello decides to go back to Schneider, who has played the majority of New Jersey’s games this season, or put Kinkaid in against Colordao on Thursday night. It’s a strange time for the Devils because typically teams that are out of contention at this time of year are rolling with the youth and trying to build for the future. The Devils just don’t have a lot of young talent right now so they’re trying to see things from a few pieces but the rest are veterans who are trying to prove they still belong in the league. It will be an interesting contrast against the young Avalanche.
Colorado has been playing better hockey of late as well, winning six of their last nine games overall. The Avalanche were on a three game winning streak when the Los Angeles Kings came to town on Tuesday night, and things did not go too well. The Kings scored twice in the opening period before Tyson Barrie’s 11th of the season got the Avalanche on the board. The momentum didn’t last long as the Kings regained their two goal lead less than two minutes later. Colorado just never seemed to be able to get going in this one, and they were constantly stifled like so many teams have been lately by this Los Angeles defense. Alex Tanguay’s 18th of the season in the third period gave the Avalanche some hope, but Los Angeles answered right back and went on to the 5-2 win. The Avalanche won’t be facing the defending Stanley Cup Champions on Thursday night so they’ve got a good chance to stop this losing streak at just a game and get back to their winning ways. There’s a lot of young talent on this club and they’re going through a growing process right now. This season isn’t what Patrick Roy and Avalanche fans had hoped for, but it might be what’s best for them in the long run.
These are two clubs that you just never know what you’re going to get from them. Both have the ability to just play an absolutely awful game, and both can put contests together where you come away impressed. New Jersey should look better with some better goaltending in this one, but it’s still going to be a tall task.