Skip to content

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

Feb 3, 2014, 8:44 AM EST

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. Wild’s Suter reportedly questionable to play against Canucks

    Jan 31, 2015, 7:43 PM EST

    Boston Bruins v Minnesota Wild

    Starting Sunday, these teams will play each other three times in 16 days.

  2. Loss to Red Wings a ‘wake-up call’ for Islanders

    Jan 31, 2015, 6:19 PM EST

    Jack Capuano AP

    Two losses in a row for the Islanders.

  3. Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL

    Jan 31, 2015, 5:53 PM EST

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Was put on waivers, cleared, and sent to the minors this week.

  4. Red Wings’ youth shines vs. Isles for ninth win in 11 games

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:47 PM EST

    Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Hickey, Matt Martin, Justin Abdelkader AP

    Detroit is forcing itself into the Stanley Cup conversation.

  5. Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:08 PM EST

    Jay Beagle, Carey Price, Andrei Markov AP

    Montreal has put pressure on Tampa Bay in the battle for the Eastern Conference lead.

  6. Horton shows some improvement, future remains cloudy

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:48 PM EST

    Columbus Blue Jackets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    He has a degenerative back injury that might lead to career-ending surgery.

  7. Goalie nods: Smith gets shot at revenge vs. Senators

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:56 PM EST

    Ottawa Senators v Arizona Coyotes Getty Images

    He gave up five goals against them on Jan. 10.

  8. This will be a milestone night for several Flyers

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:57 PM EST

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    Meanwhile Philadelphia will try to win its fourth straight game.

  9. Red Wings, Islanders face off in unlikely battle for the East

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:57 AM EST

    Jaroslav Halak, Pavel Datsyuk AP

    They’ve surpassed the early season expectations.

  10. Bettman willing to consider making cap data public

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:11 AM EST

    Gary Bettman AP

    But he seems very reluctant on the matter.

  11. Kane, Sharp lead Blackhawks over Ducks

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 AM EST

    Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane

    Anaheim has now lost two straight in regulation for the first time since November.

  12. Miller sends ex-Buffalo mates to 14th straight loss

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:15 AM EST

    Carolina Hurricanes v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Sabres conclude January with an 0-12-0 record.

  13. Video: Jarome Iginla records his 1,200th NHL point

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:35 PM EST

    Ottawa Senators v Colorado Avalanche Ottawa Senators v Colorado Avalanche

    He’s now tied with Dino Ciccarelli on the all-time points list.

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (3684)
  2. S. Crosby (3053)
  3. T. Hall (2897)
  4. P. Rinne (2647)
  5. M. Brodeur (2575)
  1. C. Price (2560)
  2. K. Letang (2491)
  3. T. Johnson (2469)
  4. M. Richards (2313)
  5. P. Hornqvist (2272)