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Game #33 Preview: Blue Jackets wrap up home-and-home series with the Devils

Jackets look to end three game skid

Columbus Blue Jackets v New Jersey Devils Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Saturday, January 8, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: All About the Jersey
Columbus Blue Jackets (15-16-1, 31 points, 7th Metro, 12th East)
New Jersey Devils (14-16-5, 33 points, 5th Metro, 10th East)

The Blue Jackets get a quick shot at redemption this evening when they come back home and welcome the New Jersey Devils to town. The Jackets have been playing some of their worst hockey of the year, and are in the midst of a three game losing streak. They have been outscored 17-7 during this most recent skid. New Jersey on the other hand, is playing some of their best hockey, winning 4 out of their last 5 games. The Blue Jackets have played surprisingly well at Nationwide this year, and the Saturday night crowd should help fuel the Blue Jackets to a much needed victory.

Players to Watch

Emil Bemstrom and Oliver BJORKSTRAND

This worked last time, so I’m going for it again. Bemmer has just one point in his three games since returning to the lineup. It’s time for him to really start shaking off that rust and making an impact on the game. His underlying stats so far have been decent, but sometimes he just looks awkward out there and still overthinking. The puck has at times looked like a grenade on his stick. I’m not saying I’m going to manifest another hat trick, but I do think he starts to make his mark soon.

Another name that needs to get going again is Oliver BJORKSTRAND. Since his hot start he’s gone cold as of late (including missing a few games due to Covid), and the Jackets really need to get the Maestro back in a rhythm. In my opinion, it should start with taking him out of the bumper position on the power play. It is completely wasting his best skill: his shot. In his last 15 games, he has 6 points and is a -8. Consistency needs to be the name of the game for Bjorky and the coaching staff needs to put him in a position to succeed. Put him on the second unit if needed, considering everyone (defenses included) know the first unit is going to attempt to feed Patrik Laine.

Jackets Notes

The Blue Jackets are entering this game having given up 29 goals in their last six games. As a team who at times struggles to generate offense, that is a recipe for disaster. Head Coach Brad Larsen has stressed that it is not lack of effort that is plaguing the Blue Jackets, but that the team is struggling with “hockey 101” and just making simple mistakes that end up costing the team. Lars also called out the veterans on the squad and is expecting them to step up and lead by example. Look for the Jackets to play another straight forward game.

Liam Foudy looks to draw in for the the first time this year. It appears as if he will skate on the fourth line, making for a VERY fast line with Eric Robinson that could keep the opposing defenseman on their heels.

The Other Bench

The Devils look to grab their fifth win in their last six games tonight. On Thursday, the Blue Jackets, as they often seem to be, were victimized by the top line of the opposing team. Jesper Bratt, Tomas Tatar and Jack Hughes all had multi-point games with the latter racking up a 3 point night. Hughes is on fire right now and is on a five game point streak. The Jackets need to do a better job shutting down star players.

Season Series

10/31/2021 CBJ 4 @ NJD 3 (SO)
01/06/2022 CBJ 1 @ 3 NJD
01/08/2022 NJD @ CBJ
03/01/2022 NJD @ CBJ


New Jersey Columbus
2.89 (17) GPG 3.09(12)
3.37 (26) GAPG 3.56 (28)
14.9% (29) PP% 15.2% (27)
82% (11) PK% 76.1% (25)
51.03% (14) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.6% (24)
50.6% (14) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.4% (29)
7.7 (20) 5v5 Shooting % 9.1 (5)
.903 (31) 5v5 Save % .91 (27)
Jesper Bratt 10 G Leader Boone Jenner, 12
Jesper Bratt, 22 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 22
Jesper Bratt, 30 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND and Jakub Voracek, 23
Mason Geertsen, 43 PIM Leader Andrew Peeke, 26
8-7-3 Home / Road 10-5-1
4-6-0 Last 10 3-6-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Gus Nyquist
Jakub Voracek Jack Roslovic Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Emil Bemstrom Cole Sillinger Max Domi
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Liam Foudy
Vladislav Gavrikov Jake Bean
Dean Kukan Adam Boqvist
Gabriel Carlsson Andrew Peeke
Joonas Korpisalo
Jean-Francois Berube
New Jersey Devils
Tomas Tatar Jack Hughes Jesper Bratt
Andreas Johnsson Dawson Mercer Janne Kuokkanen
Marian Studenic Michael McLeod Nathan Bastian
Mason Geertsen Jesper Boqvist Alexander Holtz
Jonas Siegenthaler Damon Severson
Ryan Graves P.K. Subban
Ty Smith Christian Jaros
Mackenzie Blackwood
Jon Gilies

Let’s Go Jackets!