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Game #60 Preview: Sliding Blue Jackets need two points vs last-place Devils

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The Blue Jackets have lost four in a row as they head into New Jersey.

New Jersey Devils v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday, February 16, 2020 - 6:00 EST
Prudential Center - Newark, NJ
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s blog: All About The Jersey

Columbus Blue Jackets (30-18-11, 71 points, 4th Metro, 6th East)

@

New Jersey Devils (21-26-10, 52 points, 8th Metro, 14th East)

All of a sudden the once-streaking Columbus Blue Jackets have run into some difficulty of late. While lack of offense has been a concern all season, Columbus skates into Sunday’s matchup against the Devils with just nine goals over their last six games. They’ve scored just one goal in four of those contests.

Tonight represents as good a chance as any to right the ship against the last-place team in the Metropolitan Division, the New Jersey Devils. Columbus comes in off their fourth-straight defeat Friday night against the Rangers, 3-1, while the Devils come in off a 5-2 loss at the Hurricanes on Friday.

Player to Watch

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals against the Devils Dec. 21 and Columbus thirsts for his scoring production in a big way. The 24-year-old is having a career year, and his 19 goals this season are just four behind his career-high of 23 set a season ago. His 32 points are eight back of his individual high of 40 set in 2017-18. Bjorkstrand enters tonight on a three-game points-streak with two goals in his last three games. He missed time with injury but going back over his last 14 games, Bjorkstrand has 16 points (12 goals, four assists).

Jackets Notes

For a team starving for goal-scoring production, consider the Blue Jackets have outscored the Devils 10-1 in two games this season, both at Nationwide Arena. ... Pierre-Luc Dubois has just one point in his last six games, which was his assist against the Lightning last Monday. ... The next assist in the career of Gustav Nyquist will be his 200th. ... Going back to Jan. 11 agains the Golden Knights, a stretch of 14 games, the Blue Jackets are 26-for-28 on the penalty kill. ... Columbus has taken the last nine games against the Devils and are 21-5-0 since joining the Metropolitan. ...

The Other Bench

New Jersey’s 21 wins are the fourth-lowest total in the NHL. ... Since Alain Nasreddine took over behind the bench for the Devils Dec. 3, New Jersey is 12-13-6. ... Kyle Palmieri leads the Devils with 39 points, is tied for the team lead in goals (21) with Blake Coleman. ... The Devils have utilized four goalies this season:

NHL.com

In the first game, Gilles Senn made the start, while in the second game MacKenzie Blackwood came in relief for of Corey Schneider after allowing four goals on 17 shots. ... Blackwood is 34th in SV% (.912), 33rd in GAA (2.79), and those numbers are better than Sergei Bobrovsky, Devan Dubnyk, Braden Holtby, Martin Jones, Pekka Rinne, and Jonathan Quick just to name a few prominent goalies. ... Against Columbus in the prior two matchups, New Jersey is 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, and 0-for-6 on the power play. ... Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Devils went six-straight games without a regulation loss (3-0-3). ... In his first NHL season, Nikita Gusev is second on the team with 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists). ... The Devils have been without Nico Hischier (lower body - day-to-day) and Sami Vatanen (lower body - injured reserve) since their last games Feb 1.

Season Series

12/21/2019 NJ 1 @ CBJ 5
01/18/2019 NJ 0 @ CBJ 5
02/16/2020 CBJ @ NJ
03/23/2020 CBJ @ NJ

Stats

New Jersey Columbus
2.72 (23) GPG 2.58 (28)
3.42 (30) GAPG 2.44 (2)
16.0% (27) PP% 16.3% (25)
80.7% (15) PK% 83.0% (7)
46.70% (28) 5v5 Corsi % 48.90% (21)
47.70% (27) 5v5 Fenwick % 50.80% (12)
7.7% (21) 5v5 Shot % 6.8% (29)
.907 (28) 5v5 Save % .935 (1)
Blake Coleman, Kyle Palmieri, 21 G Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 19
Nikita Gusev, 23 A Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 26
Artemi Panarin, 75 P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 43
P.K. Subban, 61 PIM Leader Nick Foligno, 56
9-10-10 Home / Road 12-7-8
4-3-3 Last 10 5-2-3

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Gustav Nyquist Kevin Stenlund Oliver Bjorkstrand
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Nathan Gerbe
Sonny Milano Pierre-Luc Dubois Emil Bemstrom
Jakob Lilja Riley Nash Eric Robinson
Zach Werenski Markus Nutivaara
Vladislav Gavrikov David Savard
Scott Harrington Andrew Peeke
Elvis Merzlikins
Matiss Kivlenieks
New Jersey Devils
Jesper Bratt Jack Hughes Kyle Palmieri
Blake Coleman Travis Zajac Nikita Gusev
Miles Wood Pavel Zacha Wayne Simmonds
Nick Merkley Kevin Rooney Joey Anderson
Andy Greene Damon Severson
Will Butcher P.K. Subban
Mirco Mueller Colton White
MacKenzie Blackwood
Louis Domingue