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Game Preview: Dubinsky, Wennberg return vs. Devils

by Katie Foglia / Columbus Blue Jackets

UPDATE: John Tortorella just met with the media at Prudential Center after today’s morning meeting, and he delivered some good news. Both Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg, activated off injured reserve yesterday, will return to the lineup tonight against the Devils. Both players had missed six games – Wennberg to a foot injury, and Dubinsky due to an elbow infection.

The New Jersey Devils (11-8-1) had a slow start out of the gate, dropping their first four games of the season, but they have been quick to turn things around.

After those losses, the Devils won their next four games consecutively and, most recently, have won three of their last five games. With 23 points, the Devils are currently sitting in a good spot and start to creep near the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

The Devils' last outing was a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, a game in which they got two points despite being out-shot 38-22 and outplayed for most of the last two periods. The Devils took an early lead in the first 20 minutes of regulation and never trailed, but the Canucks put on a mighty push; Mike Cammalleri, Andy Greene and Adam Henrique each scored for New Jersey.

Cammalleri, who leads the team with seven goals and 14 assists in 20 games, has been at the forefront of head coach John Hynes’ newly-implemented system of attack. The team has visibly made the shift from defensive-minded to offensive-minded and aggressive, and it's been quite evident in the first quarter of the season.

GM Ray Shero has a solid group to work with as he looks to build the Devils back to contender status. Henrique and Travis Zajac are two strong pieces down the middle, defensemen Adam Larsson, Damon Severson, Eric Gelinas and the captain Greene are members of a rounded defense corps, and they have one of the league's best between the pipes in Cory Schneider.

The last time these two teams played each other was almost exactly one month ago on Oct. 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky lead Columbus to back-to-back wins with his best effort of the early season, doing some fine work in the opening period. After a sluggish start, the Jackets turned things around quickly and took a 3-0 lead in the final 20 minutes of regulation.

First, Boone Jenner beat Devils goaltender Cory Schneider 9:03 into the third period. On the next shift, Cam Atkinson tapped the puck in at 9:38. Scott Hartnell added on another with 5:13 remaining in regulation.

The scoreless start was largely due to the play of Bobrovsky, who made 23 saves and kept his team in the game until the end. The Jackets, despite only having 14 shots, picked up two much-needed points off a 3-1 final score.

The Blue Jackets are 6-3-0 in the last nine match-ups with New Jersey and 9-10-2 in the all-time series. In addition to this upcoming game, the two teams will play three additional times this season.

Goaltender Cory Schneider is having a fantastic start to the 2015-16 campaign. In 16 games played, he’s earned 10 wins and currently has an impressive .928 save percentage.  

Schneider, who was selected by the Canucks in the first round (26th overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft, is currently playing in his 8th NHL season (third with the Devils). The Devils traded a first-round pick to the Canucks to acquire Schneider at the 2013 NHL Draft, transitioning from one era (Martin Brodeur) in goal to a new one that's worked fairly well so far.

Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 205 pounds, Schneider moves quickly but efficiently and has been an absolutely work horse for the Devils; he made 69 starts a year ago and has manned the net in 16 of the Devils' first 20 games this season.

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