Coming off a 4-3 overtime loss, the New Jersey Devils travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets in a Metropolitan Division battle. Just like the Devils, the Blue Jackets will be in the second half of a back-to-back after they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime last night. The Blue Jackets have been the surprise team of the year. After an historic 16 game win streak, they found themselves atop the league and currently sit in second in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points; just 3 points behind Washington for the top spot. The Devils will likely have their hands full tonight against one of the best teams in the league.
What to Watch
- The Wood/Henrique/Cammalleri line was clobbered at even-strength last night. I’d expect John Hynes to mix that combination up by possibly moving Joseph Blandisi or Pavel Zacha to play with them and moving Miles Wood down in the lineup. Wood has had his moments offensively, but on the defensive side of things, he’s been a liability and may be more suited for a lesser role at the moment. Blandisi broke even for possession for last night, so it’s possible he moves up and takes that spot.
- Andy Greene returned to the lineup last night and the results were not great. Greene finished -11 in shot attempts when on the ice while his partner, Ben Lovejoy, was -12. John Hynes could opt to pair Greene back with Damon Severson for familiarity’s sake. The two have seen a lot of ice and have gotten the best results when paired together. The Devils have been better defensively over the last month, so they don’t want to take a step back. With Greene back in the lineup, John Hynes needs to find the right defense pairs to make sure they’re able to sustain the progress they’ve made.
- With both teams on the back end of a back-to-back, the Devils will likely be spared going against Sergei Bobrovsky. His backup, Joonas Korpisalo, has struggled in limited time since being called up a few weeks ago. He is 3-1-0 with a .893 save percentage and 3.57 goals against average. New Jersey needs to fire as many pucks to the net as they can early on and make Korpisalo feel uncomfortable. If they can get an early lead and put him on his heels, it’ll go a long way to securing another road win.
- Unlike the start of the season, the Devils have been much better on the road than they have been at home over the course of the last month+. They finished January 6-0-1 on the road and will look to continue their success away from Newark tonight. Granted, it’ll be one of toughest opponents they’ve faced on the road all season long. Columbus is 18-5-1 at home this season, so the Devils will have to bring their best game if they want to continue their winning ways away from home tonight.