Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Devils fight to stay in heart of playoff race vs Avs

Feb 3, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

New Jersey Devils right wing Michael Ryder, left, moves the puck down the ice as Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly covers in the third period of the Avalanche's 2-1 shootout victory in an NHL hockey game in Denver on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New Jersey Devils host the Colorado Avalanche at the Prudential Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

Going into the season, not much was expected of the Devils or Avalanche. That’s where the similarities between their seasons end.

The Colorado Avalanche, fresh off making Joe Sakic the team’s executive vice president and Patrick Roy the head coach, became the talk of the league when they kicked off their campaign with a 14-2-0 run. They’ve hit a couple bumps in the road since then, but haven’t dramatically slowed down. They’ve only endured a single three-game losing streak and one four-contest slump on their road to a 35-14-5 record.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s late NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon has been everything they could have hoped for after being selected with the first overall pick, but their roster isn’t substantial different from the one that finished last in the Western Conference in 2013. Instead, they have succeeded largely by getting more out of the same guys and goaltender Semyon Varlamov in particular.

Varlamov has rebounded from a rough 2013 campaign thanks in part to Roy and goalie coach Francois Allaire’s guidance. Colorado recently rewarded Varlamov for his comeback with a five-year, $29.5 million extension.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils’ roster is substantially different from what it was even last season with far more mixed results. To be fair, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello can’t really be blamed for that. From a short-term perspective, the single worst thing to happen to New Jersey over the summer was Ilya Kovalchuk deciding to “retire” to get out of his contract and move to the KHL.

The Devils were forced to scramble to overcome the offensive void he left and while Jaromir Jagr has done a remarkable job, especially at the age of 41, they were struggling to find the back of the net even before Kovalchuk left.

Even a strong season out of goaltender Cory Schneider hasn’t been enough to turn the tide. All he’s been able to do is keep them afloat so that while they’re shy of a Wild Card spot, at least they’re still very much in the race.

In fact, given that only two points separate second and sixth place in the battle for Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference, every game is still critical for the Devils. At the same time, the Avalanche could use a win as they try to stay in the battle for the Central Division title against the formidable St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.

Latest Posts
  1. Canes coach Peters making tweaks with emphasis on being more dangerous offensively

    Sep 1, 2015, 10:11 PM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    They were near the bottom of the league in that regard last season.

  2. Eichel planning to move in with Moulson

    Sep 1, 2015, 9:03 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    “The way he offered his house to me shows what kind of person he is.”

  3. St. Louis offers Upshall a professional tryout

    Sep 1, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT

    Scottie Upshall Getty Images

    The Blues have a vacancy with Patrik Berglund out for at least four months.

  4. Crosby, Toews, Weber, Price lead pack in NHL 16’s ratings

    Sep 1, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Stadium Series - Pittsburgh Penguins v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    A few players have leapfrogged Steven Stamkos.

  5. Marchand rehabbing from offseason elbow surgery

    Sep 1, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    Brad Marchand Getty Images

    He played through the injury in 2014-15.

  6. Flyers bring back tough guy Rosehill on AHL deal

    Sep 1, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Chris Thorburn #22 of the Winnipeg Jets fights with Jay Rosehill #37 of the Philadelphia Flyers during third period in a game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Philadelphia Flyers on April 6, 2013 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
(April 5, 2013 - Source: Marianne Helm/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    He spent all of last season with Lehigh Valley.

  7. Marcel Goc signs in German League

    Sep 1, 2015, 10:04 AM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v St. Louis Blues Getty Images

    Veteran forward heads overseas after appearing in 600-plus NHL contests.

  8. Domi: I just want to make the Coyotes

    Sep 1, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Max Domi Getty Images

    He’s got plenty of potential, but he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.

  9. Lucic jokes about running through Rask ‘like I did (to) another goalie’

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:22 PM EDT

    Milan Lucic AP

    His first game against Boston is scheduled for Feb. 9.

  10. Success for McDavid isn’t purely a numbers game

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Connor McDavid AP

    The start of his rookie campaign is approaching.

  11. Hitch finds silver lining in Berglund injury

    Aug 31, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Patrik Berglund Getty Images

    Who will take advantage of the opening?

  12. Neuvirth cites Voracek as his reason for joining Flyers

    Aug 31, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Five Getty Images

    The two have previously played together on the Czech national team.

  13. Hurricanes add Ray Whitney, three others to scouting staff

    Aug 31, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Jeff Daniels Getty Images

    Former coach Jeff Daniels is also staying within the organization after being relieved of his AHL coaching duties.

  14. Poll: Will Seabrook re-sign?

    Aug 31, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    Brent Seabrook Getty Images

    You can expect this question to be asked throughout the year.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1588)
  2. P. Kane (1522)
  3. M. Richards (1324)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1176)
  5. N. Backstrom (1065)