It's no secret that New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson and Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog are great friends.
The two Swedish players, born 11 days apart, talk on the phone at least once a week. They played for various national teams in Sweden, including this year's world junior championships. Both went through this year's draft together and have found early success this season. Landeskog made the Avalanche out of camp and earned a line on the team's second line. He's recorded 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 24 games. Larsson has been a fixture on the Devils blue line, leading the team in ice time in several games.
Tonight they'll put that friendship aside as the Devils start a three-game road trip against the Avalanche at 9:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Center. The game can be seen on MSG Plus.
Larsson is looking forward to the opportunity to play his friend.
"It will be fun," the defenseman told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "I talked to him a little bit [Tuesday] night and it will be a fun game when I play against him. He's a really good player and tough to play against as a defenseman."
New Jersey will look for Larsson to help get them back in the win column. The Devils lost to the New York Islanders, 3-2, Saturday at the Prudential Center. The Devils twice fell behind, but Larsson and fellow rookie Adam Henrique helped tie the game, 2-2, heading into the third period. A costly turnover by Kovalchuk on the powerplay led to Michael Grabner's game-winning shorthanded goal.
Larsson has points in his last five games (1g, 4a) and is tied for first with Marc-Andre Gragnani among all rookie defenseman in points.
The Avalanche enter tonight's game coming off a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars Monday night. Michael Ryder scored twice, and Andrew Raycroft stopped 35 shots. Kevin Porter tallied the lone Avalanche goal.
Landeskog hasn't been shy this season, firing 79 shots on net - most among rookies. He also leads the team with 59 hits.
"I think he [Landeskog] can play almost everywhere," Larsson told Gulitti. "He has that skill and size and strength and all that and so far I think he's been playing really well."