The Christmas break is over, and the NHL is back in action. The holiday season is still upon us, however, and here's hoping that everybody is having a safe and happy time with friends and family.
The Jackets are back to work tonight in New Jersey, for the first time this season. From a standings perspective this game is huge, as the Jackets can leapfrog the Devils with a victory, drawing even with the idle Flyers for the third and final divisional playoff spot. The Rangers, also tied with the Flyers at 38 points, are facing the Capitals tonight. A win would also bring the Jackets back to .500.
In their final game prior to the break, the Jackets earned a gutsy win over the 'Canes, while the Devils were blasted by the Blackhawks.
The goaltending matchup features Curtis McElhinney against Martin Brodeur. Other notable roster notes include the return of Ryane Clowe to the Devils lineup, Matt Calvert, Nathan Horton, Marian Gaborik, Jared Boll and Dalton Prout out with injuries for Columbus, while Tim Erixon is a healthy scratch.
The Jackets will need to set the pace early, and avoid letting the Devils run things ther way on home ice. Scoring the opening goal is critical.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(16-17-4, 36 Points; 6th division, 12th conference)
|Nick Foligno||Ryan Johansen||R.J. Umberger|
|Mark Letestu||Corey Tropp|
|Fedor Tyutin||Jack Johnson|
New Jersey Devils
(15-16-7, 37 Points; 5th division, 10th conference)
|Travis Zajac||Jaromir Jagr|
|Adam Henrique||Michael Ryder|
|Andy Greene||Mark Fayne|
Head to Head Stats
|2.42 (23)||GPG||2.70 (13)|
|2.47 (12)||GAPG||2.84 (20)|
|19.1% (12)||PP%||18.2% (15)|
|85.8% (5)||PK%||81.8% (18)|
|Jaromir Jagr, 13||G leader||Ryan Johansen, 15|
|Jaromir Jagr, 20||A leader||James Wisniewski, 18|
|Jaromir Jagr, 33||Pts leader||Ryan Johansen, 30|
|Marek Zidlicky, 38||PIM leader||Brandon Dubinsky, 68|
|12/23 @ Chicago, L 5-2||Last Game||12/23 @ Carolina, W 4-3|