Devils Gameday Preview: Colorado Avalanche – 03/08/22

It’s game night at Prudential Center as the New Jersey Devils host the Colorado Avalanche. The last time these two teams met was on Jan. 4, 2020, in New Jersey and defenseman Ryan Graves was on the opposing team who won by a final score of 5-2. Blake Coleman scored shorthanded while Jesper Boqvist earned his fourth goal of the season on the power play. Mikko Rantanen had a three-point night and Devils’ goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 29 saves on 33 shots.

2 Storylines: Colorado Avalanche (41-11-5)

The Avalance Are Finishing a Back-to-Back

The Avalanche are on a three-game road trip and played their first game last night against the New York Islanders. Colorado walked away with the two points but gave up three consecutive goals with under eight minutes left in the game giving their opponent a chance to force overtime. Cale Makar scored two of his team’s five goals and ended the night with three points.

Related: Avalanche Defenseman Jack Johnson Continues to Outplay Expectations

Tonight marks Colorado’s eighth back-to-back this season. After examining their schedule I noticed they won every second game of the back-to-back except for one against the Nashville Predators when they lost in overtime. The Avalanche are a dangerous team and will be a good test for the young Devils and their defense.

Kadri in the Middle of Career Season

Ahead of this season, Nazem Kadri had the reputation of being reckless on the ice and had a lack of self-control. Fast forward a few months and he is now a respected veteran in the Hart Trophy conversation. He has been a surprise all season and consistently a top forward in the league.

Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche
Nazem Kadri, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“He’s been a valuable part of our team,” said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar of Kadri. “This year he’s just taken it to a whole new level. … He wants more to do. We’re trying to give him that and make him more of a part of our team. Because he’s doing a great job at it” (from ‘Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri sets personal best for single-season points — with 36 games left to play’, The Denver Post, 02/15/22).

The London, Ontario native has 72 points this season which leads the team. He has 21 power-play points and is on pace to hit 100 points for the first time in his 13-season career. Kadri has successfully started to shed his bad reputation and has become an asset to his team, leading them to fight for a second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy.

2 Storylines: New Jersey Devils (20-31-5)

Devils Host Gender Equality Night 

For the first time in franchise history, the Devils will wear gender equality-themed warm-up jerseys. It is the organization’s ninth theme night of the season and second this week. Amrisa Niranjan is a local artist who came up with the design and sat with Devils’ host Catherine Bogart to explain it.

“It represents the fluidity of what gender itself means,” Niranjan said. “The marbling look is the result of blending many colors and figures into one image, and in a way each of us is a piece of the greater picture, fusing together to define what gender equality will ultimately mean. Each ring could be considered a ripple in moving the notch forward on progress towards gender equality.”

Tonight’s Devils game will also have an all-female digital broadcast that will feature Kelly Schultz as the play-by-play announcer and Erica Ayala who will serve as the color commentator. Additionally, the NJD.TV pre-game and post-game shows will include Bogart along with team reporter Amanda Stein.

Can Hischier Extend His Point Streak?

This season, the young Devils’ captain has embraced his role both on and off the ice. His 38 points are third-best behind Jesper Bratt and Jack Hughes and he has been leading by example all season long. He is currently on a four-game point streak with five points (two goals, three assists). On March 4, the Devils played the New York Rangers and the Swiss forward led his team with seven shots and scored New Jersey’s only goal. He has been one of their most consistent forwards and will continue to be a threat to the opposition tonight.

Players to Watch

New Jersey Devils: Jonas Siegenthaler

Jonas Siegenthaler has created a name for himself this season and has become the defensive defenseman the Devils have been looking for. He has been a workhorse, being the only blueliner to appear in every game this season for New Jersey. As one of the Devils’ most reliable defensemen, he along with Damon Severson will most likely be tasked with the difficult job of defending Nathan MacKinnon’s line.

Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon

MacKinnon’s 57 points in 42 games is ranked fifth on the team, but that does not mean he isn’t a threat on the ice. He is on an 11-game point streak and earned three points last night against the Islanders. The 26-year-old has faced the Devils 13 times throughout his career and has notched 12 points (three goals, nine assists). The Devils’ defense will need to keep their heads on a swivel when he’s on the ice because he doesn’t need a lot of time or space to be a difference-maker.

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