Avs Gameday: Colorado vs. New Jersey
O'Reilly Takes Over Avs Goals Lead
Ryan O’Reilly was the first player to put the puck in the net Thursday night at Pepsi Center.
He was also the last.
In between, Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov and New Jersey netminder Cory Schneider put on a defensive show that didn’t end until O’Reilly’s third-round shootout score gave Colorado a 2-1 win, its seventh in nine games.
O’Reilly put the Avs ahead 1-0 when he potted a one-timer from the slot at 8:55 of the first period, after he received a behind-the-net pass from Patrick Bordeleau. He then sent the Devils to their second shootout loss in three games when he methodically skated wide down the right side in the third round of the tiebreaker before slapping a try past Schneider’s left side.
The first-period score was O’Reilly’s fourth in his past two games and his 12th point (eight goals, four assists) in 12 games. He all of a sudden leads the Avalanche with a career-high 18 goals on the season, matching his NHL watermark set during the 2011-12 season.
His three straight games with a goal matched a career-long streak he had done twice previously.
Avalanche Overcomes Devils in Shootout
Rick Sadowski | NHL.com
DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche has gotten accustomed to putting in extra work in recent weeks. Four of its past five games and seven of the past 13 have been decided after regulation -- including Thursday at Pepsi Center, when beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout.
Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly scored against Devils goalie Cory Schneider in the first and third rounds of the tiebreaker; Schneider made a save against Nathan MacKinnon in the second round. Duchene shot the puck between Schneider's pads and O'Reilly chipped it past his glove.
Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov made a pad save against Patrick Elias and forced Adam Henrique to shoot wide before O'Reilly connected for the winner.
"I played with Cory Schneider over in Europe a little bit, so I know him a little bit," Duchene said. "He's a very aggressive goalie, he has great reflexes and I just tried to get him to bite on a fake and was able to open him up and slip it home. He played outstanding for them as well. O'Reilly had an outstanding shot on him as well in the shootout."
While the Avalanche has gone 3-3 in shootouts this season, the Devils have lost all eight of their shootouts while scoring once on 25 shots. Going back to last season, they've dropped 12 in a row, an NHL record.
• Colorado is 7-1-1 in its last nine games.
• The Avs are 12-3-1 against Eastern Conference teams this year, 7-2-1 at home. Colorado is 25-7-2 against Eastern Conference opponents since the start of the 2011-12 season.
• Semyon Varlamov improved to 10-0-5 in his last 16 games (15 starts). Varly's run of 15 consecutive decisions without a regulation loss is the second-longest streak in franchise history, one shy of Peter Budaj’s record.
Listen to audio highlights of the Avalanche's 2-1 shootout win over the Devils from the Altitude Radio Network.
Click on the picture below to see the full photo gallery from Avalanche-Devils
Avs vs. Devils - Jan. 16
Avs Injuries Adding Up, But So Are the Wins
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy walked into his post-practice news conference Wednesday afternoon carrying a sheet of paper with scribbles and notes peppered across it.
The Avs are set to face New Jersey tonight (7 p.m. MT; Altitude), but they’ll do so with a sizeable group of players injured and not in the lineup.
Giving an injury update is a typical bullet point in Roy’s dealings with the media, but he’s usually able to shoot from the cuff, laying out which player or two is hurting and where they’re hurting and how long they’ll be on the shelf.
Not Wednesday, though. Not with seven Avs nursing injuries.
Hence the “cheat sheet.”
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Listen as Marc Moser of the Altitude Radio Network talks to Matt Duchene and Patrick Bordeleau before the Avs-Devils game. Also, coach Patrick Roy's morning news conference.
• Matt Duchene is celebrating his 23rd birthday today. Duchene has played one previous NHL game on his birthday and it was also against the Devils, Jan. 16, 2010. He had an assist in a 3-1 victory at Pepsi Center.
• Tonight is the first of two meetings between the Avalanche and Devils in 2013-14. They will close out the season series at the Prudential Center on Feb. 3. Tonight is the first meeting between Colorado and New Jersey since March 15, 2012, a 1-0 Devils shootout victory in Newark. The Devils are making their first trip to Denver since Nov. 30, 2011, a game won by the Avalanche 6-1.
• Semyon Varlamov made a season-high 46 saves in Tuesday's win over Chicago, improving to 9-0-5 in his last 15 games (14 starts). Varly's run of 14 consecutive decisions without a regulation loss is tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history.
• Tyson Barrie scored twice, including the overtime winner, in Tuesday's 3-2 victory at Chicago. It was Barrie's third career OT goal, setting a franchise record for the most overtime goals by a defenseman. Barrie has two OT winners this year, tying the single-season franchise record for a defenseman. Greg de Vries scored two in 2002-03.
• Ryan O'Reilly has scored three goals in his last two games, giving him a team-high 17 goals on the season. He is now one shy of tying his career high of 18 goals set in 2011-12. O'Reilly matched his personal best with two goals on Jan. 11 at Minnesota, his first multi-goal game since Dec. 4, 2011 vs. Detroit. Ryan shares the team lead with four game-winning goals and ranks second in power-play tallies (5). He has 11 points (7g/4a) in his last 11 contests.
• Gabriel Landeskog has 12 points (4g/8a) in his last 11 games, which included a career-high eight-game point streak.
• Paul Stastny has nine points in his last five contests (2g/7a).
Avalanche Hosts Devils Looking to Gain Ground
DEVILS (20-18-10) at AVALANCHE (29-12-5)
TV: Altitude, MSG PLUS 2
Last 10: New Jersey 5-2-3; Colorado 6-2-2
Season series: This is the first of two games between the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche.
Big story: The Avalanche has gotten hot the past two weeks by winning six of eight to close the gap with Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks.
Devils: New Jersey has a point in five straight games, winning three of four, including a 4-1 victory Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens. The Devils have climbed to within one point of the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Avalanche: Colorado has dropped from first place to third in the Central, but with an eight-point lead and three games in hand on the Minnesota Wild for third place, the Avalanche remains in line for an automatic playoff berth.