New Jersey Devils

After coming back from a 2-0 deficit against the first-place Canadiens on Saturday night, the New Jersey Devils return home to face struggling Colorado.

New Jersey Devils (12-9-2, 26 points- 9th in Eastern Conference)
Colorado Avalanche (9-13-1, 19 points- 12th in Western Conference)
Today, 7:00 PM on Alti, MSG+
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

By Patrick Comia

That comeback win on Saturday has got to feel good for the Devils.

Not only did they earn three out of possible four points from a home-and-home series with the first place Montreal Canadiens last weekend, but they pushed the Habs to the brink. After a shootout loss on Friday, the two went at it again, but this time at the Bell Centre.

And boy did the bell toll for the Canadiens, who fans must have been stunned and solemn on their exits out the arena after Devils defenseman John Moore put back his own rebound past Mike Condon.

READ LAST GAME’S GWG: John Moore Buries Overtime Winner Against Habs

Despite going down two goals into the late stages of the third period, the Devils kept at it and never gave up the ship. This seasons motto: RELENTLESS was aptly applied to their game, not throwing in the towel at any time.

With two days off between games, New Jersey is right back at it, when they host the struggling Colorado Avalanche at the Prudential Center.

This will be the first of their two-game season series, with the second being next January in Colorado.

It’s a difficult task to figure out Patrick Roy‘s Avalanche team. It’s not for the lack of scoring. Entering tonight, the Avalanche average 2.96 goals per game, sixth best in the NHL this season. They also have the 10th best power play unit, operating at 20.4%.

However, their defense has been a let down, and perhaps is making Roy age faster than he would like. They are allowing the NHL’s fourth worst goals against average with 3.04 per game, and they kill 78.4% of team penalties when they are shorthanded.

But, perhaps their most inconsistent position is goaltending.

Number One starter Semyon Varlamov has struggled with injuries and his play in the net, appearing in 13 games this season. In that time, he is 5-6-1 with a 3.20 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. However, in his past games, his record is 3-1 with no-decision. The bad part, Varlamov has only recorded a save percentage once in that span, a .952 against the Winnipeg Jets back on November 23rd.

For his career versus the Devils, he is 2-1-1 with a 1.55 goals against average and .934 save percentage.

Despite his success against the Devils, we may see his backup Reto Berra in goal. Varlamov did not look good last night in Brooklyn, giving four goals in a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders. Even though he doesn’t have a winning record in 12 games played (4-7), he has the better stats amongst the two.

Berra has a .923 save percentage, and carries a 2.39 goals against average this season. However, he has lost his last four appearances, including giving up four goals on 11 shots to the Washington Capitals on November 21st and benched after the first period.

It’s a tough decision for Roy, who probably has lost confidence in his goaltending and looking for the next “him” to rely upon.

New Jersey will need to contain the Avalanchess top scoring line of Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog. All three combined have 66 points so far this season.

Duchene leads the team in goals (12), and MacKinnon in assists (14), with Landeskog right behind both in either categories.

This should be an interesting matchup that may come down to special teams on both sides of the puck.

The Devils have the fifth best penalty kill unit with a percentage of 84.1.

Hopefully, the momentum of going toe to toe with the Canadiens will have positive effects going forward.

Gameday tweets:

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I'm a blogger trying to make it in this world. Have been, and always will be, a fan of the NYR and NYG. Writing for the New Jersey Devils cause, well, someone has to do it!