Poor offense is back hurting the New Jersey Devils, and bad defense is plaguing the Colorado Avalanche again.
Those problems have dropped both clubs just outside the playoff picture but could result in one having a breakout performance Thursday night in Denver.
Yet, it was the Avalanche (21-20-3) who won a low-scoring affair in New Jersey on Dec. 1, winning 2-1 behind goals by Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie. Colorado is 8-0-1 in the past nine matchups after winning the last five - all by one goal.
Cory Schneider has been victimized by the Devils' anemic offense during that skid, losing all five meetings despite a 1.75 goals-against average, and it's been a similar story lately. He has a 1.68 GAA in his last six starts but won only three of them.
Struggling to score is nothing new for the Devils (21-18-5), second to last in the league with 2.20 goals per game. Even on a three-game win streak that carried them through the new year, they scored just three goals in each victory.
Since that run, New Jersey has totaled six goals in five games while going 1-4-0 - clearly missing Mike Cammalleri's presence. The Devils' points leader has sat out six straight games with an upper-body injury and won't return until Saturday in Arizona at the earliest. >> Read more…