Avalanche roll into New Jersey

(SportsNetwork.com) - The rolling Colorado Avalanche will aim for a fourth straight victory when they visit the New Jersey Devils in Monday's battle at Prudential Center.

The Avalanche, who are running third in the Central Division and are 12 points clear of the eighth seed in the Western Conference, won their third straight game on Saturday, slamming the visiting Buffalo Sabres by a 7-1 score. It was the 12th win in the past 16 games (12-3-1) for Colorado, which has registered 16 total goals during its current three-game tear.

Jamie McGinn led the way in Saturday's rout at Pepsi Center with two goals and one assist. Nathan MacKinnon added a goal and two helpers, Gabriel Landeskog tallied twice and Erik Johnson chipped in with three assists for the Avalanche, who recorded a season-high in goals.

Tyson Barrie and Marc-Andre Cliche also produced offense to back a 27-save effort by Semyon Varlamov.

"We gave our best in the first two periods. This is a good complete game. It was good to finish them off early and not let them back in," MacKinnon admitted.

MacKinnon, the top overall pick of last summer's draft, has recorded a goal in three straight games and has 20 markers and 20 assists in 54 games during his first NHL campaign. He leads all rookies in goals and points.

Colorado is kicking off a four-game road trip on Monday, as the Avs play their final four games before the Olympic break away from Denver. Patrick Roy's club has a strong 16-7-2 record as the guest this season.

The Devils, who are two points out of a playoff berth in the East, have lost three of their last four games and recently went 1-1-1 on a three-game road trip.

New Jersey opened the swing with a 3-0 loss in St. Louis before beating Dallas in overtime on Thursday. A day after notching the 3-2 win in Big D, however, the Devils lost a 3-2 OT decision in Nashville. Predators star defenseman Shea Weber scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner 1:29 into the extra session, to lift Nashville to Friday's win.

Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr each had a goal and an assist for New Jersey, while Cory Schneider finished with 30 saves in the loss.

"It's tough, two nights in a row, giving up a lead in the last minute," said Schneider in referencing Thursday's 3-2 overtime win at Dallas, during which the Stars tied the game with 51.5 seconds in regulation. "We should've had an extra point tonight again."

Schneider expects to start again on Monday and he is 6-1-2 with a 1.54 goals against average in his career against the Avs. With Colorado playing tomorrow night against the New York Rangers, Jean-Sebastien Giguere may get the start for the Avs on Monday. Giguere hasn't started a game since Jan. 6 and he hasn't earned a win since Dec. 6 in Calgary.

Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov left Friday's game with a lower-body injury and he missed practice on Sunday. The veteran blueliner is questionable for tonight's game.

The Avalanche notched a 2-1 shootout win over a visiting New Jersey team on Jan. 16, giving Colorado four wins in the last five meetings between the clubs. The Devils have won two of three and three of the past five encounters in the Garden State.


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