The Columbus Blue Jackets have been on fire since Dec. 16, to the tune of 12 wins in that time with only two regulation losses.
|NEW JERSEY DEVILS|
17–23–7 (41 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7 P.M. – SATURDAY, JANUARY 18
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
The Blue Jackets have clawed their way back into the wild card conversation in the Eastern Conference, and a win tonight helps solidify that spot for the club. The Jackets will have to avoid playing down to the Devils level in order to do so, though they have enjoyed recent success against New Jersey.
The Devils are having a rough go this season, after seeming to have all the pieces in place to make a run before the season began. The main issue for Devils has always been in net, but unlike the Blue Jackets, their netminders have not stepped up. Cory Schneider has spent time in the American Hockey League this season, while MacKenzie Blackwood has had some encouraging stretches mixed with inconsistency.
This is the second meeting between the two clubs, with the other game also being played at Nationwide Arena. In that game the Blue Jackets left the ice with a 5-1 victory and Columbus will be looking for a similar outcome tonight. They'll need the points, as the Hurricanes and Flyers have shown that they can answer Columbus' rally. And, further, looking beyond the wild card picture, the Blue Jackets are only two points behind the third-place New York Islanders. There's a long way to go but the possibilities are all in play.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
- Stay in the green. With their 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes, the Jackets are now +1 in goal differential and will Atkinson back in the lineup, they will be working towards staying in the green. Improved goaltending certainly helps in that regard, too.
- What a return! Atkinson was a force against the Hurricanes, picking up a nifty primary assist on Bemstrom's goal before adding a goal of his own later in the game to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead. While Atkinson has taken a step back this season in terms of production, the Blue Jackets have missed his presence on the ice.
- Consistency. The Blue Jackets have scored at least three goals in their last three games, and during this run have won every game in which they have scored at least three goals, with half of their wins coming from scoring exactly three goals. Got all that?