Game #34: Blue Jackets Close Out Homestand vs Devils

Columbus finishes their six-game homestand tonight against the Devils, and look to end things in style.

Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: All About The Jersey

Columbus Blue Jackets (18-12-3, 39 points, 2nd Metro, t-6th East)


New Jersey Devils (11-14-7, 29 points, 8th Metro, 16th East)

The Columbus Blue Jackets conclude their six-game homestead as they battle the New Jersey Devils for the first time this season. It’s the first of a two-game swing in four days as the two clubs will meet again at Prudential Center for a Sunday matinee.

Sergei Bobrovsky and co. come off their first shutout win of the season, a 1-0 victory, over the Golden Knights Monday night. The Devils were dumped by the Maple Leafs, 7-2, Tuesday night. That, mixed with the Flyers winning, has sunk the Devils to the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. Quite a drastic turnaround from where the Devils were a season ago as they reached the playoffs.

Player to Watch

Nico Hischier, the 19-year-old Devils phenom, turned heads a season ago in his rookie campaign. The talented center finished tied-for-seventh among rookies, with fellow familiar face, Pierre-Luc Dubois, in goals (20). Like Dubois, Hischier played all 82 games, and had 32 assists on the season to finish with 52 points. The latter, good for sixth among all rookies. This season, Hischier has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists), which puts him third on the Devils behind Taylor Hall (32—8-24) and Kyle Palmieri (29—17-12).

Jackets Notes

Artemi Panarin missed Monday’s game with a lower-body injury but practiced Wednesday and is expected to return to the lineup. ... Anthony Duclair was inserted into the lineup in Panarin’s place after missing the previous two games as a healthy scratch. ... Sergei Bobrovsky recorded his, and the Blue Jackets, first shutout of the season in their 1-0 win over Vegas. ... The 1-0 win was actually just the 16th in Blue Jackets history. ... Brandon Dubinsky left Wednesday’s practice after injuring his leg in 5v5 play after being checked in the corner. ... He literally returned to the ice one minute later and John Tortorella said Dubinsky will play Thursday. ... Tonight’s game begins a stretch of four straight against the Metropolitan Division for Columbus.

The Other Bench

After a surprising run to the playoffs last season, the Devils have struggled to start this season. Cory Schneider, in particular, has failed to signify anything close to the No. 1 net-minder he has proven to be throughout his career, having not even registered a victory so far this season.

Schneider allowed three first period goals against the Golden Knights last Friday night, including scoring on himself, which led to him being pulled. The Devils managed to rally for the win, but it’s been hard-luck for the once starter. Having worked his way back from a hip injury to start this season, Schneider last earned a victory Dec. 2017, and is on an 0-15-3 slide dating back to last December. Schneider was placed back on IR Monday with an abdominal strain. In the corresponding move, MacKenzie Blackwood was recalled from Binghamton.

Keith Kinkaid, who filled in admirably last season while Schneider dealt with injury, has also struggled in net this season, including a stretch of five-consecutive starts that saw him yield four goals each between Nov. 23 and Dec. 3. He turned in a solid relief appearance against the Golden Knights last Friday, stopping 15 shots and picking up the 5-4 win. Kinkaid followed that up with a 2-1 shootout loss at the Predators, making 28 saves. However, he was on the hook for five goals against Toronto Tuesday night as MacKenzie Blackwood, making his NHL debut, backed him up. Blackwood’s next start would be his first at the NHL level.

Joey Anderson (ankle), Stefan Noesen (illness), Steven Santini (jaw) are also expected out. John Hynes’ club is also just 3-11-3 away from The Rock.

Season Series

12/20/18 NJ @ CBJ
12/23/18 CBJ @ NJ
1/15/19 NJ @ CBJ
3/5/19 CBJ @ NJ


New Jersey   Columbus
3.00 (t-15) GPG 3.27 (11)
3.63 (28) GAPG 3.15 (t-20)
18.1% (21) PP% 15.1% (27)
82.2% (10) PK% 79.8% (t-15)
49.92% (17) EV Corsi % 49.45% (20)
97.9 (27) EV PDO 100.3 (t-14)
Kyle Palmieri, 17 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 19
Taylor Hall, 24 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 25
Taylor Hall, 32 P Leader Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson, 34
Miles Wood, 33 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 38
3-11-3 Home / Road 9-7-2
2-4-4 Last 10 5-4-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Anthony Duclair
Oliver Bjorkstrand Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Markus Hannikainen Brandon Dubinsky Riley Nash
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Zach Werenski Scott Harrington
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo

New Jersey Devils

Taylor Hall Nico Hischier Kyle Palmieri
Marcus Johansson Pavel Zacha Jesper Bratt
Miles Wood Travis Zajac Blake Coleman
Brian Boyle Brett Seney John Quenneville
Andy Greene Damon Severson
Will Butcher Sami Vatanen
Mirco Mueller Ben Lovejoy
Keith Kinkaid
MacKenzie Blackwood

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