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Game Day Preview: Colorado Avalanche visit the New Jersey Devils

The undefeated Avalanche roll into the swamp to play kick off the season for the Devils

Colorado Avalanche v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After stealing a win from the New York Rangers on Thursday night, the undefeated Colorado Avalanche will pay a visit to New Jersey for the Devils’ season opener later today. Despite the victory, the Avs are going to ice a bit of a different lineup than the one we saw in the opener. Nikita Zadorov will see game action for the first time this season and game one hero, Semyon Varlamov is going to watch from the bench as the coaches turn to new backup Jonathan Bernier.

There will be a lot of excitement in the building as first overall pick Nico Hischier will get his first taste of regular season NHL action. Like the Avs, New Jersey is coming off os a season that they’d like to forget and they’ll be looking to get off on the right foot in their home opener.

Hiscier will join Erik Johnson, Nathan MacKinnon, Nail Yakupov and Taylor Hall as the fifth #1 overall draft pick playing in this game.

The Avalanche will look to get their second game of the season to ensure a winning record on this season-opening three game road trip.

Avalanche Preview

Coach Bednar was coy on his lineup when he spoke to the media after practice yesterday. We know that Zadorov will be in the lineup, but he wouldn’t elaborate on who else might draw into the lineup. Anton Lindholm skated with Z at practice so it stands to reason that he will draw in as well. What we don’t know is which two defenders would be coming out of the lineup. It’s just speculation but there’s a good chance we see the following defense pairs today:

Barberio - Johnson

Nemeth - Barrie

Zadorov - Lindholm

Up front, there aren’t expected to be any chances from the game on Thursday.

lineups from DailyFaceoff.com

** Update, it sounds like Carl Soderberg will replace Matt Nieto on the 4th line for the game today. No word on the D yet.

Devils Preview

Though their lineup looks better than a season ago, this Devils team is still not one to be overly scared of. They have a legitimate star in Taylor Hall and the exciting potential of Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha, but beyond that, there's not a whole lot of high-end talent up front.

For all the negativity aimed at the Avs blueline, the Devils defense group is far more ugly. Damon Severson is a darn good defender, but the rest is pretty ugly. There are a lot of depth guys playing in roles far above their talent level, and then there’s some bum named Butcher on the third pair.

The Starting Goalies

After opening the season as the first star of the game, Semyon Varlamov will have today off as the Avs turn to Jonathan Bernier. He finished last season with a 21-7-4 record and a .915 sv% with the Anaheim Ducks. Bernier struggled with a groin injury through the preseason so it’s good to see that he’s ready to go.

Across the ice, the Devils will start Cory Schneider. The undisputed starter in New Jersey, Schneider will look to bounce back from a very tough season last year. Playing well below his potential, Schneider finished the season with a .908 sv%, something he will have to drastically improve on.

How to Watch/Listen

It’s an early game, so Altitude coverage begins at 11 am with puck drop at noon.

You can also listen to the game with our friend Marc Moser on Altitude Sports Radio 950AM

Go Avs Go!