NEWARK (AP) – A successful first road trip last season helped propel the Colorado Avalanche to an eventual playoff berth.
Seeking similar results on their first trip of this season, the Avalanche continue a grueling road stretch Friday night against the banged-up New Jersey Devils, who are trying to build on their first win.
Colorado’s 4-1-2 mark on its first road swing of 2009-10 last October sparked the club to a 95-point season. The Avalanche are in the midst of another early season trek, as they’re two games into a busy five-game road stretch.
Colorado (2-1-0) lost 4-2 at Philadelphia on Monday before beating Detroit 5-4 the next evening. Brandon Yip scored in the sixth round of the shootout as Colorado came away with two points after falling behind three times.
“We did a good job of keeping it simple and outworking them,” said forward David Jones, who had two goals and an assist for a career high-tying three points.
After getting two days off following those games, the Avalanche play three times in four days to close the trip as they take on all three New York City-area teams.
First up are the Devils, who won’t have forward Brian Rolston for four to six weeks after he underwent sports hernia surgery Thursday. New Jersey will also likely be without defensemen Anton Volchenkov (broken nose) and Mark Fraser (broken right hand) on Friday.
The depleted club recalled three players from its AHL affiliate Thursday after signing forward Adam Mair on Tuesday.
The loss of Rolston is a big one as New Jersey (1-2-1) has seven goals on the season.
It didn’t help that Martin Brodeur had an uncharacteristically high 4.11 goals-against average in his first three starts, but he helped lead the Devils past Buffalo 1-0 on Wednesday with 24 saves.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored his first goal of the season 53 seconds into overtime.
“We’ve had a lot of changes,” Brodeur said. “We’ve had injuries. It’s been chaotic a little bit. So for us to finally get one under our belt, now we can start playing our season.”
Brodeur seems likely to be in net Friday to try for his third win in four games against the Avalanche. He was outplayed by Craig Anderson in a 3-1 defeat in Denver on Jan. 16, and that could be the matchup in goal again in this game.
Anderson, though, has given up three goals in each of his first two games and sat in place of Peter Budaj on Tuesday. Anderson is 2-1-1 with a 2.69 GAA in four appearances against the Devils, while Budaj has never faced them.
Anderson’s 37 saves in last season’s matchup helped the Avalanche win for the second time in six meetings with Devils.
The Avalanche are 2-6-2 at New Jersey since relocating from Quebec for the 1995-96 season.
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