Two of the youngest teams in the NHL just so happen to be two of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division. Tuesday night is the first of a home-and-home between the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils from Nationwide Arena before the two reconvene Friday night in Newark.
While the Jackets come in off Saturday night’s loss to the Washington Capitals 4-3, they enter play winners eight of their previous 10.
Meanwhile, the Devils come in off a 5-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night and are 5-3-2 in their last 10. Both teams have occupied their share of the top two spots in the Metro to this point.
I like my PB&J
The French Bread line, or PB&J, whichever you prefer, featuring the dynamic trio of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Josh Anderson looks to keep sizzling following one of the best games the line has been involved in.
Panarin has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games, and Dubois is in the middle of a career-best four-game point streak (one goal, five assists). He rides a two-game, multi-point streak into play Tuesday (four assists last two games).
For New Jersey, Taylor Hall has six points in his last five games (two goals, four assists). He is the teams’ leader with 19 helpers.
We saw former Devil, Adam Henrique, last Friday night in an Anaheim Ducks uniform. Now we’ll see new Devil, defenseman Sami Vatanen. It was a trade GM Ray Shero made looking to bolster his defense in the variety of an offensive-defenseman, who provides a big right-handed shot.
With Sonny Milano demoted to Cleveland in order to garner more minutes, the lines may also look a tad different tonight. Tuesday’s affair will also center around a couple of rising stars, and two of the top three draft picks in each of the last two NHL drafts.
While Dubois has found a home centering the Jackets’ leading goal and point-scorers respectively, the Devils bring in 2017 No. 1 draft pick Nico Hischier. Hischier (5-13-18) is seventh overall among rookies in scoring, and third in assists.
#CBJ lines are a touch different this AM:— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) December 4, 2017
Panarin - Dubois - Anderson
Foligno - Wennberg - Atkinson
Calvert - Dubinsky - Bjorkstrand
Jenner - Sedlak - Motte
While Columbus gave up a rare power-play chance in Washington over the weekend, the unit is the best on home ice this season, with 35 of 37 killed (94.6 percent). The Devils’ power play is top 10 in the league (21.7 percent).
Cory Schneider will man the goal for New Jersey, and expect Sergei Bobrovsky back in for Columbus.
With points at a premium in a bunched Metropolitan Division, the Jackets find themselves in the middle of a stretch that will have them face four divisional opponents over the next week.
|Taylor Hall||Nico Hischier||Jesper Bratt|
|Marcus Johansson||Travis Zajac||Drew Stafford|
|Brian Gibbons||Blake Coleman||Stefan Noesen|
|Miles Wood||Brian Boyle||Jimmy Hayes|
|Andy Greene||Sami Vatanen|
|John Moore||Damon Severson|
|Will Butcher||Ben Lovejoy|
|Artemi Panarin||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Josh Anderson|
|Nick Foligno||Alexander Wennberg||Cam Atkinson|
|Matt Calvert||Brandon Dubinsky||Oliver Bjorkstrand|
|Boone Jenner||Lukas Sedlak||Tyler Motte|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Scott Harrington||Markus Nutivaara|