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Game Preview #72 - Let's Not Go *Too* Crazy

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There was a lot to be happy about last night. Same two teams again today. But, let's pump the brakes a bit.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at New Jersey Devils

Sunday, March 20, 2016 - 5:00 PM EST
Prudential Center - Newark, New Jersey
TV: FSNOH - Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponents' Blog: All About The Jersey

Post Coffee Mug - 16-12-5, 37 pts in 33 games

Columbus Blue Jackets - 29-34-8, 66 pts - 8th Metro, 15th East

vs.

New Jersey Devils - 34-31-7, 75 pts - 7th Metro, 12th East

Season Series

NJD: 0-4-0
CBJ: 4-0-0

10/27/15 - Columbus 3 at New Jersey 1
11/25/15 - Columbus 2 at New Jersey 1
02/25/16 - New Jersey 1 at Columbus 6
03/19/16 - New Jersey 3 at Columbus 6
03/20/16 - Columbus at New Jersey

Well, that one was interesting. You may be asking yourself, why the headline? Well, as much as I enjoyed the third period last night, I think it would be good for some perspective. New Jersey is undermanned. They were playing one of the worst goaltending combinations I've seen in this league in awhile. That game also didn't mean much in the standings, other than moving Columbus into a three-way points tie with Vancouver and Calgary in the race to the bottom. Let's pump the brakes on how "good" the Jackets were, and also on winning too many games in general. Hashtag TankStrong.

That being out there, how nice was it to see BJORKSTRAND apply some of what he learned from his debut to this game? He didn't hesitate to shoot the puck (war-on-ice had him at 10 shot attempts, and eight scoring chances). He showed the release and shot accuracy on that second goal that we've been hoping for. This Tweet of mine may have been quite a bit tongue-in-cheek...

...but, for all the lamenting we do here about the "lack of skill" this organization and team have, wasn't that second goal the kind of goal-scoring skill we're talking about? Obviously, the kid had a great night. There will be more of them, but there will also be some frustrating times as well (hence all the talk of brake-pumping). But, if only for one period it was great to see what a 20-year-old "pure goal scoring" prospect looks like for this franchise. Here's to many more, BJORKSTRAND.

As for today's game, well, who knows what to expect? The Jackets are playing their eleventy billionth back to back, and we know how those tend to go. However, how cool would a five-game season sweep look, standings be damned? It takes some solid effort to beat a team five straight times in one season, no matter who the team is.

That on the table, it wouldn't be the *worst* thing in the world to drop a game, either.

Lineup projections are the same as last night, though I'm guessing Joonas Korpisalo will get the crease tonight for Columbus.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Scott Hartnell Brandon Dubinsky Nick Foligno
Brandon Saad Boone Jenner Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Alexander Wennberg BJORKSTRAND
William Karlsson Michael Chaput Gregory Campbell
David Savard Seth Jones
Ryan Murray Dalton Prout
Fedor Tyutin Cody Goloubef
Joonas Korpisalo
Sergei Bobrovsky

New Jersey Devils

Tyler Kennedy Adam Henrique Devante Smith-Pelly
Reid Boucher Travis Zajac Kyle Palmieri
Joseph Blandisi Sergey Kalinin Mike Sislo
Bobby Farnham Stephen Gionta Tuomo Ruutu
Andy Greene Adam Larsson
John Moore David Schlemko
Jon Merrill Damon Severson
Keith Kinkaid
Yann Danis

Head to Head Stats

New Jersey Columbus
2.25 (30) GPG 2.56 (21)
2.53 (11) GAPG 3.06 (29)
20.9% (8) PP% 18.0% (18)
81.7% (12) PK% 80.9% (19)
46.5% (29) EV CF% 47.8% (22)
99.4 (21) EV PDO 99.6 (19)
-100 (24) EV SC +/- +5 (16)
Kyle Palmieri, 27 G leader Cam Atkinson / Boone Jenner, 25
Travis Zajac, 26 A leader Brandon Dubinsky, 28
Kyle Palmieri, 49 Pts leader Cam Atkinson, 46
Jordin Tootoo, 102 PIM leader Scott Hartnell, 108
16-15-4 Home/Road 13-19-2
4-6-0 Last 10 5-5-0
3/19 @ Columbus, L 6-3 Last Game 3/19 vs. New Jersey, W 6-3