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Game Preview – Game 20: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Your New Jersey Devils!

New Jersey Devils vs Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
 
(10-8-1, 21 points) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (5-13-2, 12 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight will be the first and only time this season that the New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets will meet. Last season, they met on March 20 in Columbus in which the Devils won 3-0 to secure Martin Brodeur’s 115th career shutout.

Devils vs Blue Jackets Recap:

The Devils were able to score three goals in under four minutes to give themselves a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission. The team look great. But, a 3-0 lead is always said to be the worst lead in hockey.

It proved to be true, as the Panthers scored two goals in each the second and third period. Tomas Fleischmann‘s goal with 2:03 left in the third period proved to be the difference.

The Devils wrapped up their five game road trip with a 3-2 record.

Devils Injury Updates:

Anton Volchenkov (facial laceration) missed most of Monday’s game against Florida, but will play tonight.

Eric Boulton (non-displaced fracture in right hand) has been assigned to Albany (AHL) for conditioning purposes.

Tim Sestito has been recalled from Albany (AHL).

Travis Zajac (torn Achilles tendon) has been cleared by doctors, and is expected to practice with the team in two weeks.

Jacob Josefson (broken clavicle) is still recovering and isn’t expected back until March.

Against the Blue Jackets:

All-time the Devils are 7-2-2-0 when playing the Blue Jackets and 3-0-1-0 when playing in New Jersey.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Blue Jacketswith 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 10 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Blue Jackets with 11 points  (3 goals, 8 assists) in nine games played. Kovalchuk is also two points away from notching his 100th career point as a New Jersey Devil.

Martin Brodeur is 6-2-2-0 in his career against the Blue Jackets with a 2.17 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora – Elias – Zubrus

Palmieri – Carter – Clarkson
Tedenby – Sestito – Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder – Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

Columbus Coming off Back-to-Back Wins:

The Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves last in the NHL standings with a 5-13-2 record. However, they have momentum they need coming into tonight’s game.

The Jackets beat the Flames Monday night, 4-1, and now have back-t0-back wins for the first time in 42 games, stretching back to February 2010. Luckily for them, this stretch wasn’t close to the NHL record for games played without back-to-back victories, which is 173 set by the Washington Capitals from the 1974-75 season to the 1976-77 season.

The team hopes these wins, will jump-start the team’s offense and defense, and get them out of the slump they are currently in.

Blue Jackets and Devils Stats and Tidbits:

While David Vyborny has the most career points, all-time, as a Blue Jackets against New Jersey, seven points (3 goals, 4 assists), Vinny Prospal has the most career points among active Blue Jackets with 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) in 50 games played.

The last trade between these two clubs happened back in 2003 when the Devils acquired Grant Marshall for a 2004 Conditional Draft Pick.

Curtis Sanford is expected to start between the pipes tonight for the Blue Jackets. He has a career record of 0-1-0 against the Devils with a 3.57 GAA.


Projected Blue Jackets Lineup:

Nash – Carter – Umberger
Prospal – Letestu – Johansen
Vermette – Pahlsson – Dorsett
Calvert – MacKenzie – Boll

Tyutin – Nikitin
Methot – Wisniewski
Moore – Clitsome

Sanford
Mason

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Game Preview – Game 19: Your New Jersey Devils @ Florida Ice Cats

New Jersey Devils vs Florida Panthers
New Jersey Devils
 
(10-7-1, 21 points) @ Florida Panthers (10-6-3, 23 points)
7:30 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

The Devils will get their first look at the Florida Panthers this season. They will play the current Southeast Division leader four times this season. Last year, the Devils and Panthers split the season series 2-2, but the Devils outscored the Panthers 12-10.

Devils Roll Past Lightning:

The Devils and Lightning met up on Saturday Night as the Devils came off a split back-to-back series against the Bruins and Sabres. The Devils hoped to ride the momentum they gained as they scored five goals on the Sabres last Wednesday.

After the first period remained scoreless, the Devils went into the third period leading 3-0 with goals from Dainius Zubrus, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson.

The Devils defense held the Lightning to only 13 shots between the first two periods of play, but the Lightning came out firing in the third period. Brodeur kept the Lightning scoreless for 51 minutes until Martin St. Louis and Ryan Shannon would score within a minute and a half of each other to pull the Lightning within one.

Ryan Carter would score a goal with 2:03 left in the third, to seal the Devils victory.

Leaders for the Devils:

Points
Elias – 18 points
Parise – 11 points
Henrique – 11 points

Goals
Elias – 8 goals
Clarkson – 7 goals
Parise – 6 goals.

+/-
Elias +2
Fayne +2
Greene +2

Wins
Hedberg – 6 wins
Brodeur – 4 wins

GAA
Hedberg – 2.45
Brodeur – 2.88

Save %
Hedberg – .914
Brodeur – .888

Against the Panthers:

All-time the Devils are 43-21-9-0 when playing the Panthers and 20-12-5-0 when playing in Florida.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Panthers with 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) in 47 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Panthers with 63 points (32 goals, 31 assists) in 53 games played.

Martin Brodeur is 36-14-8  in his career against the Panthers with a 2.00 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora – Elias – Zubrus

Tedenby – Carter – Clarkson
Pelley – Mills – Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder – Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

Panthers Hot Start Has Them Looking at Playoffs:

With the acquisitions the Panthers made this offseason, fans didn’t know what to think. They had lost star goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the Capitals, and signed Jose Theodore to replace him between the pipes. The Panthers also had Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall, Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann all join the squad.

Currently Versteeg, Campbell, and Fleischmann are all averaging close to a point a game and somehow the Panthers find themselves in first place in the Southeast division with the competitive Capitals and Lightning looking up.

The last time the Panthers made the playoffs, Pavel Bure led the team in points and Bill Clinton was the President of the United States.

Panthers Career Stats Against Devils:

Stephen Weiss leads active Panthers in career points against the Devils with 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 28 games.

All-time leaders for the Panthers include Scott Mellanby and former Devil, Rob Niedermayer, both have 20 points against the Devils as Panthers.

Jose Theodore is 7-14-2 in his career against the Devils with a 2.67 GAA.


Projected Panthers Lineup:

Fleischmann – Weiss – Versteeg
Sturm – Goc – Kopecky
Dadanov – Santorelli – Bergenheim
Kennedy – Matthias – Skille

Campbell – Garrison
Ellerby – Jovanovski
Weaver – Kulikov

Theodore
Markstrom

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