Keys to the game:
The Devils need to come into this one ready to go and not underestimate their opponent. Just because the Colorado Avalanche are having an awful season doesn’t mean they will just lay down and die. The Devils also need to make sure they aren’t putting themselves behind the eight-ball by taking sloppy penalties or attempting to pass the puck around too much. On this losing streak, there have already been 3 games in which they generated 20 shots or fewer, and that cannot be the case moving forward. Pucks need to be put towards the net early and often, and once you get a shot on net, the rebound needs to be followed up on and put right back on, keeping the pressure high in the crease. The Devils most recent game vs the Avalanche in February led to a 3-2 victory in which they got 40 shots on net, so I will be looking for a repeat performance from the shot category. The biggest issue tied to that is our shooters need to make sure their shots are on target and actually forcing the goalie to make a save, too many times we either shoot wide or force a pass and turn the puck over.
Players to watch:
From the Devils side I will be looking for Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall to really try and take advantage of the sub-par defense and put some big numbers on the board. Palmieri has been red hot this second-half of the season, and I don’t see that slowing down tonight. Hall needs to get some goals in a big way (hat-trick alert possibly?). Keep an eye on Beau Bennett in this one as well as, he should be able to get some good opportunities to bury one.
For the Avalanche, you always have to keep an eye on their big guns Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan Mackinnon. Out of the three, I think Landeskog is going to give us the hardest time given his size and strength. Carl Soderberg is a sneaky depth player as well who will find his way around the front of the net and needs to be accounted for.
The Devils played a strong game even though they were shutout by the Blue Jackets, one of the best teams in the league. Colorado is the place where losing streaks go to die, and I think another one is ended tonight. The Devils will generate a high shot total in this one and come away with the comfortable 4-1 victory.