|NEW JERSEY DEVILS|
13–16–5 (31 points; .456%)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7:00 P.M. – THURSDAY, JANUARY 6
BALLY SPORTS OHIO
ESPN+ (Out of Market)
Perhaps getting out of town will do the Columbus Blue Jackets some good.
After giving up seven goals at Nationwide Arena in two consecutive games, the Blue Jackets begin a home-and-home with the New Jersey Devils on Thursday from the Prudential Center in Newark.
The game should be a refreshing change of pace in the level of competition for Columbus. The losses to Carolina (7-4 on Saturday) and Tampa Bay (7-2 on Tuesday) were against teams that are top five in the league in points. When the Blue Jackets and Devils battle Thursday, they'll do so with the same number of points — 31 — but with Columbus having played three less games.
It will be the second of four meetings this season between the two teams. Columbus had a come-from-behind victory on Halloween, winning 4-3 in a shootout. Joonas Korpisalo made 36 saves on 39 shots in the game, his best start of the season. With Elvis Merzlikins out, Korpisalo is likely to be between the pipes again Thursday.
Alexandre Texier and Cole Sillinger are also unlikely to play, which could mean the season debut for Liam Foudy. With Zach Werenski also still out, Jake Christiansen may (finally) make his NHL debut.
|45.7%||MONEYPUCK'S ODDS TO WIN||54.3%|
|60.0%||THE 538'S ODDS TO WIN||40.0%|
|82.0||82-GAME POINT PACE||74.8|
RE: NEW JERSEY
Like the Blue Jackets, the Devils started off the season exceeding expectations. Through their first dozen games, the team expected to finish near the bottom of the metropolitan division went 7-3-2. It has not been smooth sailing since, though. New Jersey has put together consecutive wins just once since over their last 20 games. That three-game streak — with overtime wins against Edmonton and Washington — came to an end Tuesday when they lost 5-3 to the Boston Bruins.
Defense, like it has been for Columbus, has been the chief concern for New Jersey. Even with the aforementioned three in a row, the Devils have given up no less than three goals in ten consecutive games — something even the Blue Jackets have been able to avoid this season.
Four Devils have nine goals on the season. but New Jersey is one of two teams (Montreal is the other) in the league that does not have a ten-goal scorer so far this season. With 30, Jesper Bratt — one of the four Devils a goal shy of ten — is the team leader in points. Another nine-goal scorer, Andreas Johnsson, is second on the team with 21 points.
"WE ARE GOING TO BE HARDER TO PLAY AGAINST"
That's the quote from head coach Brad Larsen after Tuesday's five-goal loss. Ok, prove it. Columbus has been folding like a non-suited, 3-5 flop in recent games. The competition has been tough, but NHL teams should not blow 4-0 leads at home halfway through the game, as Columbus did in the 7-4 loss to Carolina on Saturday. Columbus has got to find identity and stability, and New Jersey may be the cure that ails it.
LESS SHOTS, PLEASE.
Over their last five games, the Blue Jackets are allowing an average of 41 shots per game. At 35.2, Columbus ranks dead last in shots allowed per game. Regardless of who is in net, you can't ask your goalie to routinely have 40 save nights. Columbus does not have the talent to be a lockdown team defensively, especially with Werenski out again Thursday (COVID), but there has to be some semblance of a team that can play NHL-caliber defense.
GET DOMI BACK ON TRACK
It's been four straight games without a point for Max Domi, who was a key player when the Blue Jackets were winning games. Primarily a winger this season, it could be worth it to move Domi to center — his natural position — and see if it can bust him out of his slump.
|29||Patrik Laine||38||Boone Jenner||14||Gus Nyquist|
|93||Jakub Voracek||19||Liam Foudy||28||Oliver Bjorkstrand|
|59||Yegor Chinakhov||7||Sean Kuraly||16||Max Domi|
|50||Eric Robinson||96||Jack Roslovic||52||Emil Bemstrom|
|44||Vladislav Gavrikov||22||Jake Bean|
|46||Dean Kukan||27||Adam Boqvist|
|32||Jake Christiansen||2||Andrew Peeke|
|70||Joonas Korpisalo||30||Jean-Francois Berube|
*SUBJECT TO CHANGE