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Game 45 Preview: Devils @ Avalanche

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After two forgettable games, the Avalanche (21-20-3) hope some new blood will get them back on the winning side of the puck against the Devils (21-18-5).

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche simply embarrassed themselves Tuesday night against the Lightning. Poor defensive play allowed the Lightning to control play and light up the lamp while an ugly inability to pass the puck left the Avs unable to create anything offensively. The first part of that equation is no surprise. With the Avs' best defenseman, Erik Johnson having been out for the last ten days, the Avs surprisingly pulled together a couple of wins. But the last two games, his absence has been felt on the back-end. Rather than watching the team continue to suffer, the team made some roster moves Wednesday to help the situation. With Johnson being placed on the injured reserve and Nate Guenin being placed on waivers, the Avs have proceeded with a youth movement, calling up defensemen Chris Bigras and Nikita Zadorov from San Antonio. Both 20-year olds are considered to be two of the Avalanche's best prospects and are expected to make an impact on a team desperate for defense.

The two young studs will get a chance to make that impact against a team that has struggled offensively throughout the year, the New Jersey Devils. Having yet to eclipse the three goal mark yet this year, the Devils are not a team that will get in a shootout. In fact, the Devils are one of five teams yet to score a hundred goals on the year as the mid-way point sits in the rear-view mirror. The Devils instead rely on their lone all-star, goaltender Cory Scheneider. Despite the team's poor offensive performance, the talented net minder is showing his promise in his third year as a Devil. He is on pace for a career high in wins and shutouts and is keeping his team in the playoff hunt. Schneider and the Devils will look to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Avalanche back on December 1st in New Jersey.

LINES

Tanguay-MacKinnon-Duchene

Landeskog-Soderberg-Comeau

Martinsen-Grigorenko-Iginla

McLeod-Mitchell-Skille

Beauchemin-Bigras

Zadorov-Barrie

Holden-Bodnarchuk

Pickard

Varlamov

Scratches: Redmond, Wagner

NOTES

- Thursday will be Chris Bigras' NHL debut.

- Tuesday night was the fourth time the Avalanche have been shutout this season and the third time at home.

- The Devils own the lowest shots for average in the NHL at 24.5.

GAME INFO

Game time: 7pm MT

TV: ALT