There was no ‘Luck of the Irish’ for the Devils on St. Patrick’s Day in Colorado
Two goals from Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie in the second period sealed the Devils fate in the Mile High City with Nathan MacKinnon adding an empty net goal as Colorado and New Jersey split their season series 1-1 and halts the Devils win streak at two. The stop in Colorado was the Devils final visit to a Western Conference team this season.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. Defenseman Will Butcher returned to the city where he played three years of college hockey at the University of Denver. Another connection for Butcher to Colorado is his draft. Butcher was drafted by the Avalanche in 2013, before electing to sign with the Devils as a free agent two summers ago. Butcher visited his alma mater on Saturday night before the Devils took on the Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
Butcher was held off the scoresheet and was held shot-less against Colorado in 17:04 of play.
2. Entering the lineup for New Jersey was Nick Lappin who sat out the teams last two games due to injury. Lappin skated on the third line with Drew Stafford and Blake Pietila. Lappin played 10:49 against Colorado.
3. The first period ended with a 0-0 draw, with Cory Schneider a big part of that goose-egg for the Avalanche. The Devils netminder’s first 20 minutes of the game ended with 13 saves, including a big shorthanded save on Avs Matt Calvert that Schneider saved with the top of his shoulder on a sharp wrist shot from Colorado forward with a knack for scoring shorthanded. The Devils were outshot in the first period 13 to 5.
4. Kevin Rooney had one of the more dangerous shots for the Devils in their matinee matchup. It came on Rooney’s only shot against Colorado netminder Philipp Grubauer. Rooney was fed a tape-to-tape pass from Kenny Agostino with Colorado’s Tyson Barrie attempting to break up the play. Rooney perfectly angled his stick for the deflection, but the shot was stopped by the tip of Grubauer’s blocker to deflect the puck wide.
5. There was no luck-of-the-Irish for the Devils power play against the Avalanche. Despite four opportunities, including three consecutive chances in the second period, New Jersey failed to record a power play goal, stymied by the Avalanche. Severson led the Devils in man-advantage ice-time with 5:01 of ice time.
6. On two separate occasions in the first period, the Devils penalty killers had to go to work without one of their biggest contributors. With Blake Coleman in the box twice, the Devils killed off both power plays awarded to the Avalanche in the first.
The Devils penalty kill was three-for-three overall against Colorado. Andy Greene, as per the custom, led the Devils in shorthanded ice time with 4:51 on the ice.
7. Schneider’s afternoon was a busy one, making 31 saves on 33 shots over the course of the games 60 minutes. He kept the Devils in the matchup with some huge saves and was unlucky on the Avalanche’s second goal by Tyson Barrie when Barrie’s point shot deflected off two Devils, Damon Severson, and Travis Zajac, and into the net behind him.
8. Damon Severson ate up the most minutes against the Avalanche with 24:18 of ice-time. And he leads the Devils in shots on goal with five against Colorado. With those five shots on Sunday afternoon, he tied a season-best set on January 19th against the Anaheim Ducks.
9. The stop at Pepsi Center ticks off the final venue this season the team had yet to visit. It also put the Devils in a unique situation. With 31 teams in the NHL, the Devils have played games in 32 NHL rinks this season, as well as 33 different venues. New Jersey played the Islanders earlier in the year at both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum, while the team held their season opener against the Oilers at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden as part of the NHL Global Series.
10. The Devils final long road trip of the season comes to a close after four consecutive games in the Western Conference with a 2-4-0 record. The Devils have just two road trips left this season, with stop a stop in Detroit, as well as a two-game trip to Carolina and Florida for the final games of the year.