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.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: