Throughout the offseason, Running With The Devils' will preview the upcoming 2010-2011 season schedule for the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey finished second in the Eastern Conference and made the playoffs for the thirteenth straight year last season, and the team will look to duplicate that success in the upcoming season. After previewing a few teams so far (you can find those under the “Analysis/Reaction” tab), we move to the next team – the Colorado Avalanche.
Continue after the jump for the full preview with the Avs.
Avalanche vs. Devils – Historical Data
The Devils are 34-32-8-1 all-time against the Avalanche, which includes the team’s seven game series in the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. The Devils average 3.43 goals for in their meetings against Colorado, and allow the Avalanche 3.39 goals.
Last season, the team’s only faced each other once, on January 16. The Avalanche struck early, with Chris Stewart giving Colorado a 1-0 lead 3:17 into the first period. T.J. Galiardi scored a late period goal to extend the lead to two. The score remained 2-0 until the third period, when Rob Niedermayer cut the lead in half. But the Avalanche would add a late insurance goal to win the game, 3-1.
The Devils wouldn’t leave the game completely healthy. Early in the second period, Patrik Elias took a vicious hit from Ryan Wilson. Skating down the right side, Wilson met Elias with a shoulder to the chest. The Devils’ left-winger laid on the ice for several minutes, but waved to the crowd as he was taken off the ice.
Devils vs. Avalanche – This Season’s Matchup
The two teams face off one time this season, on October 15. The Avs haven’t made any significant changes during the offseason. The team will still feature some talented young players, such as Paul Statsny and Matt Duchene, but don’t expect them to be competitive in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Colorado has fallen a long way from the perennial power they were in the early 2000s, and I’d expect to see the same roster as last season.
Photo Credit: The Associated Press