After claiming a close victory in their previous contest against the Winnipeg Jets, the Avalanche fell to Will Butcher and the streaking New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Friday night.

With Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog still serving his four-game suspension, Jared Bednar has been experimenting with different players for that vacant spot on the top line. Against Winnipeg, it was Sven Andrighetto, but for this game, Bednar decided to go with former first overall draft pick, Nail Yakupov.

“It is always exciting to be promoted to the top line, but it didn’t really feel any different. MacKinnon and Rantanen are excellent players, and I enjoy playing with them,” Yakupov said.

There would be no goals in the first period for either team, despite each time being able to spend a fair amount of time on the power play.

The first goal of the game would not come until late in the second period, as Nikita Zadorov would throw a blind pass from behind the Avalanche net right onto the stick of Devils forward Jesper Bratt for a shot into the wide-open net.

However, hope would not be lost, as the Avalanche would come up with the equalizer on the power-play soon after. Alexander Kerfoot took a shot from the slot that was blocked, but J.T. Compher found the loose puck, wiring it past Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.

Following the power-play goal from Compher, the remainder of the second period was reminiscent of the first period, and it would ultimately be tied again, heading into the final frame.

Late in the third period, Devils forward Brian Boyle would convert on a bouncing puck in front of Semyon Varlamov, batting the puck in mid-air and into the back of the net to give the Devils the 2-1 lead that would ultimately stand up as the final score.

The Avalanche will continue with their five-game homestand against the Dallas Stars on Sunday night at 6:00 PM.