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Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Devils

Jackets on the brink of a playoff berth Sunday in New Jersey

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL /





The Blue Jackets head across the Hudson River to play the second game of a back-to-back on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

The Jackets are focused on the game at hand, of course, but a win on Sunday might mean just a little bit more when it comes to the overall picture for the season. After Saturday's 3-2 win over the Islanders, the Jackets are set up to secure a playoff berth for the third time in franchise history if they can beat the Devils.


With the Capitals win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation Saturday night, the Jackets need two points Sunday to clinch a playoff spot.

The Devils come into Sunday's game hungry for a win. They've won just one game in their last ten contests (1-7-2).

Here are five things to watch for:

Hot hands against the Devils.

The Jackets have scored six goals in three games against the Devils this season. Two have come from Oliver Bjorkstrand, including the game winner in the most recent match up, Mar. 7. Sam Gagner has one goal against New Jersey but added two assists to that tally (1-2-3) as well. Boone Jenner has one goal in the season series, it was the game winner Mar. 5.

We're going streaking?

With the win in Long Island Saturday, the Jackets have strung together three consecutive wins for the second time since the team's 16-game win streak earlier this season. Outside that record-setting streak, his team has won four consecutive games just one other time this year (Nov. 12 - 20).

Video: Atkinson lifts Jackets to 3-2 OT victory vs. Isles

Record watch.

Zach Werenski added two assists on Saturday, and extended his point streak to five games, (2-5-7). With 46 points on the season, Werenski (11-35-46) passed Jaroslav Spacek (9-36-45; 2002-03) for second in total points scored by a Jackets' defenseman. Werenski sits five points away from tying James Wisniewski's franchise leading 51 points (7-44-51; 2013-14) and the rookie is one goal from tying Bryan Berard for most goals scored by a defenseman in a season (12; 2005-06).

New Look lines.

John Tortorella rolled out new forward combinations in New York Saturday, and while he liked what he saw, there's no guarantee these changes hold as Tortorella continues to look at the number of players on the roster and what they can do.

"I've been contemplating changes since we had injuries and then we got healthy," Tortorella said. "When people started coming back, and Bjorkstrand playing the way he is he's not going back (to Cleveland), and you add players at the deadline, other people come up and you feel like they've produced. So it gets crowded. You have to start thinking about who you're going to sit…so we've been thinking about it for quite a bit."

Video: Torts on a big OT win today in New York

Bob back in net.

Since the bye week, Tortorella has been breaking up back-to-back games between his two goaltenders, Sergei Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo. With Korpisalo getting the win against the Islanders Saturday, expect Bobrovsky to in net when the puck drops Sunday in New Jersey. Bobrovsky has played in all three games against the Devils this season and has three wins and one regulation loss (3-1-0).


Foligno - Wennberg - Bjorkstrand

Jenner - Dubinsky - Anderson

Saad - Gagner - Atkinson

Hartnell - Karlsson - Calvert

Werenski - Jones

Johnson - Savard

Quincey - Harrington


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