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Week Recap: New Jersey making points count against top Eastern Conference teams

New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers It seems that the All-Star break provided the rest the Devils needed. Devils took the max points from the New York,  Montreal, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Prior to the break the Devils had lost 3 straight. In those three games the Devils only scored 3 goals. Since then, the Devils have posted 19 goals in 4 games. The team is doing a lot of things right. Their special teams and defense are producing. The players that you expect to score are, as well as some you don’t expect.

One thing that is exciting to watch is the confidence that is building with this team. We saw a weak first period against the Rangers to start this past week. The Devils bounced backed in the 2nd and 3rd; coming from behind 3 times propelling them to win in the shootout. Each game New Jersey showed more confidence. Against Montreal the Devils had to come from behind but won in regulation. The weekend against Pennsylvania the Devils never trailed; scoring quickly against Philly and Pittsburgh.

The Devils D made their presence felt, scoring 3 goals and had 6 assists. Scoring came from Foster with 2 PPG against Philly and Volchenkov was able to get his first, as a Devil, against the Penguins.

Another factor, comes from Adam Oates’ special teams. They have produced 5PPGs and 2SHG, and remain in the top few on PKs in the entire NHL. On the power play the team have been able to move the puck setting up goals from the point for Foster and Kovalchuk.

The Devils’ top players have been leading the way but have received substantial support from the second and third line players. Parise has scored at least 1g in all 4 games and Kovalchuk has had 3 straight games with 3 points. Zubrus, Clarkson and Ponikorosvky have all added to the Devils scoring. Combined these three players have 20 pts in 4 games.

I am looking forward to this week’s games starting off Tuesday at MSG against the Rangers. Don’t forget we have a viewing party at Texas Arizona in Hoboken, NJ.

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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