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At the Rink blog

Devils stick with Schneider, Jackets go to Bobrovsky

Tuesday, 10.22.2013 / 1:41 PM

By Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

COLUMBUS -- It was easy for New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer to decide who would be in goal Tuesday when his team faces the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In the same manner, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards didn't lose any sleep over his selection.

But whereas DeBoer is going with Cory Schneider instead of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur for a second straight game, Richards will return to reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky despite a stellar Columbus debut for backup Curtis McElhinney on Sunday.

"He did a great job," Richards said of McElhinney's 37-save performance in a 3-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks that snapped a four-game losing streak. "He came in under tough circumstances. It was a tough road trip and when you come home the team's playing a back-to-back."

Asked if McElhinney could have made a better first impression, a joking Richards said, "He could have got a shutout."

Even that probably wouldn't have been enough to earn him a second straight start because Bobrovsky is the workhorse, starting 32 of the past 33 games, dating to last season, before Sunday, even though he has yet to play to last season's standards for the Blue Jackets (3-5-0).

"A lot of things look real similar to me in his style and in his game," Richards said. "He looks like he prepares the same. He's focused. He’s got the same energy."

Bobrovsky has a 2.70 goals-against average after posting a 2.00 GAA last season.

"He's just off by just a little bit, just a margin," Richards said. "A few of the goals that have gone in on him we haven't seen in him in a long, long time, so that catches you off guard."

Richards' crack about McElhinney not getting a shutout is ironic because Schneider's 22 stops in a 4-0 victory against the New York Rangers on Saturday -- the Devils' first (1-4-3) -- got him the start against the Jackets.

"It's a pretty simple decision," DeBoer said. "(Schneider) pitched a shutout. It was our first win of the year. Had the tables been flipped and it had been Marty it would have been a natural decision too. There wasn’t a ton of thought put into it."

Schneider, acquired from Vancouver during the 2013 NHL Draft for the ninth pick, has a 1.99 GAA and .927 save percentage.

"Obviously it's a story because Marty's not playing, but in the hockey world and as far as decisions go it's pretty much a no-brainer," DeBoer said.

Still, there are some who will be disappointed Brodeur is not in the lineup Tuesday, including Blue Jackets third-year right wing Cam Atkinson.

"A guy like that, a Hall of Famer, brings a big presence," he said. "Hopefully I'll get a chance to play against him. It's a bummer."

The Devils also expect to have forward Damian Brunner in the lineup. Brunner sat out the game Saturday due to a back injury. I

"That's the plan right now as long as he doesn't seize up between now and game time," DeBoer said.

If Brunner can't go, Jacob Josefson would take his spot in the lineup.

Also a game-time decision is Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski. He didn't skate this morning due to an illness.

"He wasn't feeling great, so we sent him home … he'll be a game-time decision," Richards said. If Wisniewski can't go, Nikita Nikitin could replace him and pair with Murray.

Here are the probable lineups for the Devils and Blue Jackets for their game Tuesday:

DEVILS

Rostislav Olesz - Adam Henrique - Jaromir Jagr

Damien Brunner - Travis Zajac - Michael Ryder

Dainius Zubrus - Andrei Loktionov - Mattias Tedenby

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Adam Larsson, Jacob Josefson

Injured: Patrik Elias (illness), Ryane Clowe (concussion)

BLUE JACKETS

Nick Foligno - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik

Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Blake Comeau - Ryan Johansen - RJ Umberger

Mark LetestuDerek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Ryan Craig, Nikita Nikitin

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round