7:06 pm
December 20

Devils @ Blue Jackets

Who will WIN this matchup?

New Jersey Devils (11-14-7)

@ Columbus Blue Jackets (18-12-3)


Starting Goalies:

Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ): Confirmed

Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ): Confirmed


Current odds:

New Jersey Devils: (+165)

Columbus Blue Jackets: (-185)


 The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to salvage a split of a six-game homestand when they host the skidding New Jersey Devils on Thursday night in the first meeting of the season between the Metropolitan Division rivals. The Blue Jackets squeezed out a 1-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday but they have managed to score only eight goals during the 2-2-1 homestand. Columbus will square off with the last-place Devils twice in a span of four days, part of a stretch in which it plays four in a row against Metropolitan opponents.

 New Jersey has been in a tailspin since winning its first four games of the season and is coming off a 7-2 thrashing by visiting Toronto on Tuesday. “Our group in here, we can’t take nights off,” Devils forward Taylor Hall said. “We have to play very, very well to get wins. That’s got to be our focus for the next game.”

 Hall was back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury but it wasn’t enough to prevent New Jersey from losing for the 10th time in 12 games (2-5-5). Every mistake appears to be coming back to haunt the Devils, such as the decision of 2017 No. 1 overall Nico Hischier to pass instead of shoot on a 2-on-1 in Tuesday’s game that led to a turnover and Toronto’s opening goal. “Just use his speed, be more direct, be more assertive,” coach John Hynes said. “He’s a real good player, he’s got great speed. Sometimes in those situations you’d like to see a different decision made.”

 Artemi Panarin, tied for the team lead with 34 points, returned to practice Wednesday after sitting out Monday’s game with a lower-body injury and will be back in the lineup against New Jersey. However, Panarin’s absence Monday allowed coach John Tortorella to juggle his lines for the game, including elevating Anthony Duclair at left wing on the No. 1 unit. “I thought Duke, the speed that he can show, some of the things that he can do, I just hope he understands the other part of it because I’d love to keep him in the lineup,” Tortorella said. “But that’s gonna fall on him.”

 The Blue Jackets have won three in a row and six of seven against New Jersey.

 Devils G Keith Kinkaid allowed eight goals in losing both starts to Columbus last season.

 Blue Jackets F Cam Atkinson, the team leader with 19 goals, is mired in a six-game drought.

StreakSmarter Pick
Columbus Blue Jackets