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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Devils

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets




Matt Calvert, go ahead goal. Textbook stuff.

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: If the first period was darkness, the second period was glaring sunlight for the Blue Jackets. What a difference all around, and they were justly rewarded with a pair of goals and they're all square with New Jersey headed to the third period here at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets found some jump, you could say, in the middle frame and the Calvert-Dubinsky-Atkinson line really got the rest of the group involved. Dubinsky (1G, 2A) and Atkinson (2G, 1A) have three-point games already and Matt Calvert has done a really nice job digging pucks out and getting them out front for his linemates. Dubinsky's pass to Atkinson for the 3-3 goal was something special, too. Now it's time to finish the job in the third period, and pick up two very important points against a divisional opponent. 

And now, we're tied again. Atkinson's second, off a great Dubinsky feed, makes it 3-3.

WATCH: Brandon Dubinsky jams away at a loose puck and makes it a one-goal game...

WATCH: First period highlights from CBJ-Devils.

Out of the last 3-5 games, that was probably the Blue Jackets' slowest start of the lot and perhaps it was a bit predictable coming off a hard game last night in Pittsburgh. No excuses from this point, though, and Columbus seemed to get its legs back later in the period and generated some chances on Martin Brodeur. The Jackets' lone goal was eerily reminiscent of Sidney Crosby's goal last night; just one player driving to the net and having a centering pass/shot attempt re-direct off his leg and into the net. The biggest concern right now for Todd Richards has to be the quick goals his team yielded: Zajac's goal 32 seconds into the game and then a quick goal by Ryder moments after Atkinson tied it up. Lots of work to be done and adjustments to be made in the intermission.

Cam Atkinson's eighth goal of the season made this a 1-1 game in the first period.

WATCH: Here's Todd Richards' pre-game meeting with the media prior to Jackets-Devils.

WATCH: Mark Letestu chats with Bob McElligott after today's team meeting/morning skate.

WATCH: Matt Calvert's pre-game interview prior to Jackets-Devils at Nationwide Arena.

Bob McElligott and Jody Shelley got together for the latest edition of the podcast this morning, and talked last night's game, tonight's match-up, two living legends in Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr and more. Listen to today's "Inside Edge" here --> PODCAST

Here's your game day opportunity to join us in the Social Station for tonight's game! Same rules apply; answer the question below and reply to us at @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJSocial to officially enter.

Q: On this day in CBJ history (12/10/2006), the Blue Jackets set a franchise record for power play goals scored in one game. How many did they score?

Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu took a few minutes to chat with Bob McElligott about tonight's game against the Devils. Listen to the interview here --> LETESTU 

The Jackets head coach met with the media after today's team meeting at Nationwide Arena. Listen to his full media session here --> RICHARDS

UPDATE (11:00 AM):
It appears as if the Blue Jackets will go with the same lineup used last night in Pittsburgh, with Savard being the sixth defenseman and Tropp remaining on the fourth line with MacKenzie and Letestu. Martin Brodeur is slated to start in net for New Jersey.

UPDATE (10:45 AM):
Todd Richards just announced that Curtis McElhinney is tonight's starting goaltender for the Blue Jackets. 

UPDATE (10:00 AM):
After landing shortly before midnight and with another important divisional game tonight, the Blue Jackets are keeping it to a team meeting this morning at Nationwide Arena. Some players may skate after the meeting but there's no formal morning skate today. We'll have player reaction, comments from the coach and more right here as it becomes available.

The Blue Jackets arrived back in Columbus late last night from Pittsburgh, and it's not yet known whether they will hold a morning skate on Tuesday. Whether it's formal, optional or interviews-only, we'll have complete coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Devils, and more from coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

With Tim Erixon called up from Springfield, the Blue Jackets have an option on defense if they opt to make a change on the second half of back-to-back games. David Savard saw his first game action in a while last night in Pittsburgh, and Erixon has played one game for Columbus this season. It would seem likely, though, that Savard remains in the lineup after an excellent performance against the Penguins.

Though we don't expect any major changes up front, Richards could opt to go with Jack Skille on the fourth line tonight against the Devils after having him sit out the past couple of games. Skille has played well in limited action for the Blue Jackets and has scored a couple of really nice goals, too. 

Tonight's big question is between the pipes: do the Blue Jackets go back to Curtis McElhinney or do they opt to give Mike McKenna a start against a team he once played for? We'll know more after we talk to Richards later today.

One thing is for sure: the New Jersey Devils are a much different team than what the Blue Jackets saw back on Oct. 22 at Nationwide Arena.

The Devils were struggling to put wins together and couldn't find any sort of consistency. Neither goaltender was playing well and they were losing games in virtually every way imaginable. But somewhere along the line, something changed and the Devils started to turn things around. 

What was once a winless team at 0-4-3 and a group that no one believed in, the Devils went on a furious run to climb into the top-three of the Metropolitan Division standings as recently as two weeks ago and they are firmly entrenched in the playoff race. They'll be facing a Blue Jackets club that left Pittsburgh on the short end of a hard-fought 2-1 game last night at CONSOL Energy Center, a game that Columbus felt it could have gotten something out of in terms of points in the standings. 

They held the Penguins' rush attack in check for most of the game and didn't allow any freebies, playing a tight-checking game in their own end and playing a quick game in their own zone. That allowed the Blue Jackets to counter, spend some time in the Pittsburgh zone and grind down their defense. All that was missing was another goal; Calvert's late tally wasn't enough and the Blue Jackets dropped their third regulation loss of the season to Pittsburgh with two remaining in the season series.



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