DAB Pregame: No Love For The Avalanche on Valentine’s Day This Year


The last time these two teams met was Jan. of 2016 when Colorado blanked the Devils 3-0 at The Rock. –Getty Images

The last time these two teams met was Jan. of 2016 when Colorado blanked the Devils 3-0 at The Rock. –Getty Images


Match Overview

After a 4-1 defeat at the hand of the San Jose Sharks on Sunday the Devils will hope to turn it around and remain in the play-off hunt tonight, at The Rock, against Colorado. This will be the first of three match-ups this year between the two teams and it’ll showcase two completely different mindsets. The Devils are sitting 5-points out of the last wild-card spot  in the East and are ad mist a 7-4-1 stretch since Jan. 13th. The Avalanche, on the other hand, are the worst team in the NHL with a 15-36-2 record. They currently find themselves in a 3-game losing skid, and before squeaking out two wins prior to their current streak, they found themselves in a 9-game losing streak. To go along with the terrible record, they are also in the bottom of the league in almost every major team statistic: 30th in GF, 30th in GA, 29th on the PP, and 25th on the PK. They will also put ex-AHL superstar goaltender Jermey Smith in between the pipes. The 27-year old will be making his first career NHL start. To say the least this season has been an absolute mess for Colorado.


Projected Lines









Smith (1st Career NHL start)









Schneider: 17-16-8, 2.67 GAA and .912 Sv%


New Jersey defenseman Jon Merrill will return to the line-up tonight after a 4-game absence. –Getty Images

New Jersey defenseman Jon Merrill will return to the line-up tonight after a 4-game absence. –Getty Images


Devils Injury Report


  • Jon Merrill returns to the line-up tonight after missing the past 4-games due to an upper-body injury, he will be paired with Damon Severson.
  • Forward Beau Bennett has missed the past 8-games with a lower-body injury and will miss his 9th tonight even though John Hynes reported that he had a chance to play. Bennett will surely be back in the line-up soon as he was described as “real close” to returning.
  • Kyle Quincey is another defenseman that has been missing time with an upper-body injury. He has missed the past 4-games but continues a practice. His return is TBD.


What to Watch


  • Colorado doesn’t have much to be happy about this year but one statistic they must be proud of is their success on the face-off dot. Colorado holds the leagues 2nd best team face-off percentage at 53.6%. They are led by superstar Matt Duchene (61.7%) and penalty-killing specialist John Mitchell (55.8%). The Devil’s on the other-hand aren’t too shabby themselves on the dot. They rank 15th in the league at 50.1%. The face-off dot is a huge part of every game and tonight will not be any different.
  • The Devils were being outshoot 21-4 at one point during Sunday’s matinee. Luckily the Avalanche are allowing a 5th most 32.1 shots against per game. The Devils are last in the league in getting shots to the net in averaging only 27.3 a game. Hopefully the Devils can find a groove in getting shot to the net against this weak Avalanche defense.
  • The Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen line is by far the best three-some the Aves have to offer. Specifically, in these last 5-games they have combined for a team-high 15-points. To say the least, this line has been hot of late and the Devil’s defensive-core must make a point to play strong defensively with these three on the ice.
  • The return of Jon Merrill can help the Devils combat that first line for the Avalanche. Before getting injured during the Devil’s 4-3 defeat of Detroit on Jan. 31st, Merrill was doing just about everything. He was averaging just above 20-minutes a game and a vital-part of the Devil’s penalty-kill. In terms of advanced statistics Merrill is 4th of the Devil’s current defenseman on the roster at a CF% of 46.8%. Merrill was playing some of his best hockey before being injured, his return is certainly welcomed.


Today’s game can be seen on MSG at 7:00 PM.








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