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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Devils

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

BLUE JACKETS (3-5-0) vs. DEVILS (1-3-4)



WATCH: A bit delayed (apologies), but here's Dubinsky's PPG that tied the game at 1-1...

A very strong period from the Blue Jackets, who own a 2-1 edge through 40 minutes. Back-to-back goals from Brandon Dubinsky (power play goal) and Atkinson put the Jackets in front, and helped them capitalize on a strong stretch of play after the Devils took the lead earlier in the period. The Devils haven't had much going at even strength and the Blue Jackets seemed to take the game back later in the period even without the pair of goals. There's a big third period ahead an early power play chance for Columbus to pull away, after Zubrus closed his hand on the puck in the dying seconds of the middle frame. Shots are 17-15 in favor of New Jersey, but the majority of those have come on the power play.  

Cam Atkinson's absolute beauty of a goal that gave the Jackets a 2-1 lead in the second period! 

Kind of a slow start by both teams here tonight in a scoreless tie after 20 minutes at Nationwide Arena. Shots are 7-5 favoring the Blue Jackets, who had the best chance of the game (so far) late in the opening period. Mark Letestu started a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Derek MacKenzie, and Letestu made a great pass across the box to MacKenzie, but the puck appeared to deflect off the skate of a Devils defender before making it to MacKenzie. The puck hopped just a bit, causing a weak shot to sail wide and keep it 0-0. The Blue Jackets have done a nice job defending down low in their own zone, and haven't given the Devils much room to work with. Same at the other end, where the Devils have been pretty stingy themselves. 

UPDATE (6:40 PM): Here are tonight's lines for the Blue Jackets:

Foligno - Anisimov - Gaborik
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Comeau - Johansen - Umberger
Letestu - MacKenzie - Boll

UPDATE (6:35 PM):
Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski, deemed a game-time decision by Todd Richards this morning, is taking the pre-game warmup.

UPDATE (1:30 PM):
Dalton Prout is back in the lineup for a second straight game and faces the Devils for the first time in his career tonight. Here are his pre-game comments on JacketsTV.

UPDATE (11:50 AM):
JacketsTV was on hand for Richards' scrum this morning. Here's the visual proof.

UPDATE (11:15 AM):
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards just met with the media following the AM skate. Here's a summary of his media session...

- Wisniewski was not feeling well this morning and was sent home prior to the skate. Richards called him a game time decision for tonight's game against New Jersey.

- Sergei Bobrovsky starts in goal. Richards said he's seen a lot of the same things from his No. 1 goalie as he did during last year's Vezina Trophy winning season, and some of the goals he's let in are born from defensive mistakes more than anything else. Overall, Richards said Bobrovsky might be a touch "off" from where he was last year.

- Richards said his message to the team this morning was to ignore the Devils' 1-3-4 record, because like the Blue Jackets, they will be a desperate team looking to continue the momentum from a weekend win. New Jersey snapped a seven-game skid to open the season with a 4-0 win over the Rangers on Saturday. 

- What does one think about when they watch the Devils? Structure and discipline come to mind, Richards said, and it makes the Blue Jackets' commitment to their game that much more important. 

UPDATE (10:30 AM):
James Wisniewski is not taking part in today's morning skate. All other players present and accounted for.

Who wants to attend tonight's game in the #CBJSocial Station, one of the greatest vantage points in Nationwide Arena? We thought so. Here's what you have to do: read the trivia question below, tweet us at @BlueJacketsNHL with your answer using #CBJSocial, and we'll randomly select two winners! Each winner gets two (2) tickets to the game - bring your tweetin' fingers!

QUESTION: Who scored the most recent Blue Jackets goal in a game between Columbus and New Jersey? 

The Blue Jackets will take their morning skate at 10AM local time here in Columbus. We'll give you a free piece of advice: stay tuned to Game Day Central throughout the day for the latest news on the lineup, injuries and much more.

They're not quite there yet, but the Blue Jackets are starting to get healthy.

Fedor Tyutin returned to the lineup last weekend against Boston, Marian Gaborik rejoined the group on Saturday after a bout with the flu, Nick Foligno (personal reasons) was back for Sunday's win over Vancouver...things are beginning to look up on the injury front.

The two big absences remain Matt Calvert and Nathan Horton, and as of this week, there were no updates on either player as they continue their respective rehabilitations.

New Jersey is dealing with its own set of issues amidst a rocky start to the season. Ryane Clowe (concussion) remains out of the Devils lineup and Patrik Elias (illness) will not play on Tuesday night in Columbus.

The Devils will have Stephen Gionta and captain Bryce Salvador in their lineup, and Cory Schneider is expected to start in goal after a 22-save shutout on Saturday against the New York Rangers.

After being spelled for one game, Sergei Bobrovsky returns to the Blue Jackets' net on Tuesday. 

While Sunday's win over the Canucks was a step in the right direction, the Blue Jackets want to make sure that train keeps rolling - and it starts Tuesday against New Jersey. Ending a four-game losing streak and earning their first win on home ice was a collective sigh of relief, but it was only the first of four consecutive games at Nationwide Arena and the start of a stretch that sees the Blue Jackets play eight of nine at home.

In other words, they have to put the skid in the rear-view mirror and focus on the task at hand: with a strong home stand, there's a good chance the Blue Jackets could find themselves in one of the Metropolitan Division's playoff spots by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. There's a long way to go and plenty of hockey to be played between now and then, but with their division rivals struggling out of the gate, the door is ajar for the Blue Jackets to get their foot in if they start to consistently play well at home.

The Devils won their first game of the season on Saturday, a 4-0 shutout of the Rangers at the Prudential Center. Schneider was excellent between the pipes and New Jersey got contributions from everyone, a good sign of the team game they like to play under head coach Pete DeBoer. 

Despite their early season struggles, the Devils have a strong foundation and added several pieces over the summer after losing star forward Ilya Kovalchuk to the KHL. GM Lou Lamoriello signed veterans like Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Ryane Clowe and Damien Brunner to help make up for some of the scoring lost when Kovalchuk left, but to this point, the Devils are waiting for most of those guys to get going.

On the Blue Jackets' side, they're also waiting for some of their veterans to rev it up offensively. RJ Umberger's first goal of the season stood as the game-winner against Vancouver, a just reward for a guy who has had a boat load of chances in the first eight games. Marian Gaborik is pacing the Jackets in the scoring department, with a line of 3-5-8 in his first seven contests of 2013-14.

Here are the projected Blue Jackets lines for Tuesday's game...





Defense pairs:





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