Get your game notes: Avalanche at Devils

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This evening on NBCSN, it’s the New Jersey Devils hosting the Colorado Avalanche starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight, New Jersey tries for its first regulation victory over Colorado since Feb. 26, 2009. The Devils – 25th in the NHL with 2.36 goals per game this season – have scored 5 times in their last 5 meetings with the Avalanche (1-3-1).

• Nineteen of New Jersey’s 56 games this season have reached overtime, tied for the 2nd-most in the league (WSH 21; CHI 19). The Devils have lost 12 of them, including all 8 that have reached a shootout, leaving them the league’s only winless team in shootouts. The Avs are one of seven teams that have defeated New Jersey in the skills contest, on Jan. 16 in Denver.

• Five Avalanche players had multiple points in Saturday’s 7-1 rout of Buffalo, Colorado’s highest goal output in nearly two years (7-1 over Minnesota on March 6, 2012). The Avs – who have scored 16 goals during their 3-game win streak – won’t play at home again until after the NHL’s Olympic break, on Feb. 26 vs. L.A.

• The Devils have killed 33 of their last 36 shorthanded situations with a penalty-kill that stands 2nd in the NHL (87.1% – Penguins, 87.6%). New Jersey hasn’t allowed a power-play goal on home ice since Jan. 7 vs. Philadelphia (15-for-15 since), and along with Carolina is the least-penalized team (8.0 PIM/gm.).

• Colorado, which kicks off a 4-game Metropolitan Division road trip tonight, has a 14-5-1 record vs. the Eastern Conference, including 7-1-1 against Metro Division teams. Tonight is New Jersey’s fourth of five consecutive games against Western Conference opponents (1-1-1 so far). This season, the Devils have 6 wins in 22 games vs. the West (6-10-6).

• Colorado rookie Nathan MacKinnon is riding a 4-game point streak and a 3-game goal streak – both career firsts – following a career-high 3-point night Saturday vs. Buffalo. MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, leads all NHL rookies with 20 goals and 40 points this season. MacKinnon could become the third Avalanche player in the last five seasons to lead the league’s rookies in scoring. In 33 NHL seasons prior to 2013-14, the Quebec/Colorado franchise has had the league’s leading rookie scorer five times:

Player | Season | Team | Pts.

MacKinnon 2013-14 COL 40

Gabriel Landeskog 2011-12 COL 52

Matt Duchene 2009-10 COL 55

Milan Hejduk 1998-99 COL 48

Peter Forsberg 1994-95 QUE 50* (48-game season)

Peter Stastny 1980-81 QUE 109

Tonight’s game features three players, who once finished a season as the league’s top rookie scorer: Landeskog, Duchene, and New Jersey’s Michael Ryder (63 points for Montreal in 2003-04).

• Matt Duchene, one of four Avs selected for the Sochi Olympics (Team Canada), has 26 points in his last 25 games and needs 1 goal for 100 in his NHL career. He would become the 2nd player from his 2009 draft class to reach the century mark (John Tavares, 135 goals).

• Cory Schneider (6-1-2, 1.54 GAA, .952 save% career vs. COL) is expected to start in New Jersey’s nets for the 10th time in 13 games. He is 5-1-3 in his previous 9 starts and has allowed 2 goals or fewer in 8 of them, including his 37-save effort in a 2-1 SO loss Jan. 16 in Denver. Entering tonight, Schneider and Martin Brodeur each have started 28 of the Devils’ 56 games.

Moving on up: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery, secure No. 1 overall pick

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The New Jersey Devils entered the Draft Lottery with an 8.5 per cent chance of winning it. They will leave with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.

The Devils finished the regular season with just 70 points, tied with Arizona for the third fewest in the overall standings. They’ve also had plenty of difficulty scoring goals in recent years, and this provides them with an opportunity to land a player — forwards Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are expected to be the top two players selected in June — that can help remedy that.

It’s become quite a close race between the two heading into the draft, which goes June 23-24 in Chicago.

From Bob McKenzie of TSN:

For TSN’s Draft Lottery edition, five scouts ranked the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Patrick No. 1; five scouts ranked the 6-foot-1, 176-pound Hischier No. 1. The Swiss pivot has closed the gap with his dynamic play, which came at a time when Patrick’s injury-riddled season was ended prematurely by an upper-body ailment that wasn’t related to the groin/abdominal issues that plagued him for the first half of the season.

While the Devils emerged as the overall winners, the Philadelphia Flyers had an enormous rise up the board. So, too, did the Dallas Stars.

The Flyers had just a 2.2 per cent chance of winning the lottery, yet they moved all the way up into the No. 2 selection spot when it was over. The Stars, with a 5.8 per cent chance of winning the lottery, also had a good day, moving up into the No. 3 overall spot.

Here is the 2017 draft order:

  1. New Jersey Devils
  2. Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Dallas Stars
  4. Colorado Avalanche
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Vegas Golden Knights
  7. Arizona Coyotes
  8. Buffalo Sabres
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. Florida Panthers
  11. L.A. Kings
  12. Carolina Hurricanes
  13. Winnipeg Jets
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning
  15. New York Islanders

As you see, there were a few other key developments in this lottery.

Vegas was given a 10.3 per cent chance at winning the top pick — the same odds given to the 28th place team — however, the Golden Knights will pick sixth overall. The Colorado Avalanche, which finished with a miserable 48 points and had the best odds to win lottery, now pick fourth overall.

And once again, the Canucks endured more disappointment at the lottery.

Last year, they dropped two spots, from third to fifth. Needing an impact forward in order to help kickstart their rebuild, they dropped three spots, from No. 2 to No. 5 overall, on Saturday.

Related: Report: Devils GM plans to reach out to Kovalchuk’s agent next week

Report: Devils GM plans to reach out to Kovalchuk’s agent next week

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Rumblings of a possible return to the NHL for Ilya Kovalchuk have continued for some time now, and it appears the New Jersey Devils are taking the next step in this process.

On Saturday, prior to the draft lottery, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported that Devils general manager Ray Shero plans to reach out to Kovalchuk’s agent next week to gauge Kovalchuk’s interest of a potential return.

Kovalchuk is now 34 years old, having spent the last four seasons with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL.

Getting Kovalchuk back for the Devils could provide an instant boost in scoring, which is an area New Jersey has struggled in. This past season, the Devils finished 28th in the league in goals for. Only the Canucks and Avalanche were worse in this category.

Kovalchuk had 32 goals and 78 points in 60 games this past season.

From NJ.com:

Kovalchuk would step in and immediately serve as a top-six winger for the Devils, Outside of Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, the Devils constantly rotated wingers into the top six last season. Having him up top would add another scoring dimension and help the depth down the rotation by bumping a player down.

Kovalchuk has also been in the news for more than a possible NHL comeback. According to reports on Saturday, he will forego the upcoming World Hockey Championship for Russia in order to have knee surgery.

Pageau’s brilliant four-goal game lifts Senators to comeback OT win over Rangers

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Jean-Gabriel Pageau had himself a performance for the ages in Game 2 against the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Pageau completed the hat trick to tie the game late in the third period, forcing overtime as Ottawa roared back from a late two-goal deficit. But he wasn’t done there. His best moment was still to come.

His fourth goal of the game was the winner, as he ripped a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist to give Ottawa a thrilling 6-5 double overtime victory.

The Senators now take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Rangers, as it shifts back to Madison Square Garden.

On the deciding two-on-one rush, Pageau opted to keep his hot streak going, taking the shot instead of going for the pass.

For the Rangers, this could be a devastating loss.

Three times, they held a two-goal lead — thanks in part to a pair of goals from defenseman Brady Skjei, who is following up a strong regular season with what has so far been a very good post-season. The Senators, however, refused to go away.

Pageau recorded a pair of late goals in the third period, just 2:17 apart, erasing for good any lead New York had.

It was, until that point, shaping up to be a disappointing result for the Senators. Their power play not only went 0-for-4, but they conceded a pair of shorthanded goals.

Senators forward Clarke MacArthur left this game early in the second period, after taking a hit from Ryan McDonagh in the first period. He didn’t return. MacArthur has dealt with concussion problems in his career, however the club didn’t disclose any details of the apparent injury during the game.

The Rangers have scored two shorthanded goals against the Senators today

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The Ottawa Senators power play is off to a brutal start on Saturday afternoon in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers.

Not only did they fail to score on their first four power play opportunities of the game, they failed to generate a single shot on goal during any of them. That is … not ideal. But that is not even the worst of it. The worst is the fact they also allowed the Rangers to score not only one, but two shorthanded goals against them.

The first one came just 4:16 into the game (on the Senators’ first power play of the game) when Michael Grabner scored his third goal of the playoffs to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.

You can see that goal in the video above.

The Rangers added to the struggles of the Senators’ power play in the second period when Derek Stepan scored his second goal of the playoffs increase the Rangers’ lead to 3-1.

That goal came during a wild five-minute stretch that saw the two teams combine for four goals and helped the Rangers build a 4-2 lead late in the second period.