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Game Preview #23 -- Work Like the Devil

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Pace and work are the keys as the Blue Jackets return to Newark for a tilt with the New Jersey Devils

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jackets  at New Jersey Devils - 7:00 PM
Game Faceoff

After a third period lapse against the San Jose Sharks that led to a 5 - 3 defeat, the Blue Jackets have been worked hard -- both on the ice and in the video room.  John Tortorella is adamant about instilling the need to play with pace for a full sixty minutes, and the only way to do that is to provide repetition and accountability.  The structure is there --- the consistency is not.

With an optional morning skate and a bevy of roster moves, the lineup for this evening is a bit of a crap shoot.  Where will Ryan Johansen be slotted, after his fourth line "demotion" -- and subsequent goal -- vs. the Sharks?  With both Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg slated to return to the lineup tonight, the  demotion of Josh Anderson, the recall of Justin Falk and the IR placement of Rene Bourque and Cody Goloubef, anything is possible this evening.   I'm projecting that Johansen stays between Brandon Saad & Boone Jenner, but don't be surprised if William Karlsson gets a shot there, with Johansen moving between Hartnell and Foligno.  Justin Falk might draw in as well, while I think Sergei Bobrovsky will almost certainly  be between the pipes tonight, likely splitting duty with McElhinney for the Friday/Saturday tandem against the Penguins and Blues.

The Devils have been something of a surprise in the early going this season, leveraging some great net play from Cory Schneider, and solid contributions across the lines, with Mike Cammalleri and Adam Henrique leading the way.  Former Blue Jacket John Moore seems to have found a home in Jersey, after stints with the Rangers and Coyotes.  He has a goal and two assists for the Devils in 19 appearances this season.

Bobrovsky has a three game winning streak against the Devils, and the Blue Jackets sincerely want to make up divisional ground and build momentum.  It should be a taut, chippy affair, as these games tend to be.  Keep tabs on the face-off stat tonight -- neither club is over 50% for the season, and the Blue Jackets are last in the league.  They are hoping that Wennberg and Dubinsky will help fill that gap.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(8-14-0, 16 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Brandon Saad
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Nick Foligno
Kerby Rychel Alexander Wennberg Gregory Campbell
Jack Johnson David Savard
Ryan Murray Kevin Connauton
Andrew Bodnarchuk/Justin Falk Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

New Jersey Devils
(11-8-1, 23 Points; 4th Division, 8th Conference)

Mike Cammalleri Adam Henrique Lee Stempniak
Sergey Kalinen Travis Zajac Kyle Palmieri
Patrik Elias Jacob Josefson Stefan Matteau
Bobby Farnham Stephen Gionta Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene Adam Larsson
John Moore Damon Severson
Jon Merrill Eric Gelinas
Cory Schneider
Keith Kinkaid