Success on the road has been fleeting for the Colorado Avalanche, but they have a chance to conclude this four-game trip through the Metropolitan Division with back-to-back victories.
After ending their seven-game slide as the visitor, the Avalanche will try to beat the New Jersey Devils for the sixth time in seven tries Saturday night.
Things looked rather bleak for Colorado (5-8-5) on this trip after falling 6-0 to the New York Islanders on Tuesday for its most lopsided defeat of the season. However, the Avalanche rebounded two days later, rallying to beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in a shootout.
"We knew we had to be strong and resilient against them because they are a very good team," said Nathan MacKinnon, whose third-period goal forced overtime before he converted again in the shootout.
Now, Colorado seems poised to build on that since it’s 5-0-1 in six meetings with New Jersey, winning 2-1 in overtime at Newark on Feb. 3.
Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-winner in that matchup, giving him three goals and two assists in his last four games against the Devils. The left wing’s only point on this trip came Thursday on an assist on Matt Duchene’s tally.
Alex Tanguay leads the Avalanche with seven goals, netting three in the past four games after scoring in regulation and tallying again in the tiebreaker against the Rangers.
Tanguay, though, has no points in his past eight games against the Devils.
Likely starter Semyon Varlamov has stopped 51 of 53 shots while winning his last two meetings with the Devils, including a 33-save performance in a 2-1 home shootout victory Jan. 16.
He’s 1-2-3 with a 3.55 goals-against average on the road this season.
The Devils (8-7-2) are looking for their first three-game winning streak since opening 3-0 following Friday’s 1-0 victory at Washington. Michael Cammalleri scored in his second straight game, giving him four points in three games after missing six with a jaw injury.
Cammalleri has seven goals and one assist in his past six meetings with Colorado.
Although Cammalleri has produced seven goals and 11 points in 11 games, New Jersey has scored three goals or fewer in 15 consecutive contests since totaling 11 in back-to-back wins to open the season.
Cory Schneider continues to be a workhorse for the Devils, starting each of the team’s 17 games. He’s stopped 53 of 54 shots in the past two, including all 30 on Friday.
"I’m just starting to play well now, so it doesn’t seem like the right time to do that," Schneider said of potentially being rested. "But I’m sure it’s coming."
Schneider would become the first goalie to start a team’s first 18 games since 2007-08, when Evgeni Nabokov started the first 43 for San Jose and Miikka Kiprusoff started the first 23 for Calgary.
Schneider 0-1-2 with a 2.27 GAA in his last three meetings with Colorado after going 6-0-0 with a 0.91 GAA in his seven prior.