With only 11 games remaining in the regular season, things aren't looking good for the Colorado Avalanche.
With the loss Friday night to Anaheim, the Avalanche now sit six points behind Arizona for the final playoff sport in the West. What makes it worse is that Chicago has now moved ahead of the Avs so they’ll have to jump three teams to get to the playoffs. They’re not completely out of it, but things don’t look good.
After a strong finish to February, the team has fallen back into hard times. With only one regulation win in their last nine games, the Avalanche simply don’t looks like a team that has the desperation necessary to make the playoff this season.
The Devils sit last in the Metropolitan Division but are coming in having won their last two games. After a surprising run to the playoff last season, the Devils have taken a major step back this year - not unlike Colorado.
The Avalanche won the only other meeting between these two team this season with a 5-3 victory back in October.
On the plus side, if the Avs were to lose again, at least it would mean the Devils gain points on the Ottawa Senators at the bottom of the standings.
The loss of Gabriel Landeskog has been noticed over the past few games. While Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen have been playing well, the team has lacked the extra push that the captain brings to the lineup.
Nathan MacKinnon has been a one man show - yet again - scoring multiple points three times in his last five games. Unfortunately the lack of scoring depth has reared it’s ugly head once again. Number 29 is trying to drag the team into the playoffs the same way he did a year ago, unfortunately it looks like this year he’ll come up short.
Derick Brassard - Nathan MacKinnon - J.T. Compher
Colin Wilson - Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen
Alexander Kerfoot - Tyson Jost - Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto - Andrew Agozzino - Gabriel Bourque
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth
New Jersey Devils
The Devils have won their last two games, but it comes after a seven game losing streak. It has been a rough year for a young team that looked like the Avalanche of the East last season. They shocked everyone with a run to the playoffs, but unfortunately it wasn’t sustainable as they are right back in the basement of the Eastern Conference this season.
Kyle Palmieri leads the team with only 50 points this season while 20171 first overall selection Nico Hischier has been suffering from the proverbial sophomore slump recording 17 goals and 44 assists.
The Devils selected Mikey McLeod two picks after Tyson Jost in the 2016 NHL Entry draft. The 21-year old has looked good during his first season in the AHL and is now up with the Devils to get his first taste of the NHL. McLeod stands as a reminder that no matter how frustrated Avs fans get with Jost’s play, he’s still a very young player that is far ahead of many of his draft cohorts.
The Devils are likely to go with Corey Schneider this afternoon. The veteran has missed a large portion of the season with injury and comes into the game with an ugly 5-10-3 record with a .898 sv%.
Since it’s an early game today, the Avs won’t have a morning skate - meaning we won’t get to see who is going to start. That said, this feels like a Philipp Grubauer game.