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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Columbus Blue Jackets seek their second straight when they play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG+).

The Blue Jackets and coach John Tortorella, who replaced Todd Richards on Oct. 21 after Columbus opened the season with seven straight losses, will be without center Ryan Johansen (undisclosed illness). Johansen missed a 4-3 victory at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday and remains day-to-day, and did not travel with the team to New Jersey.

The Devils (4-3-1) are seeking a fifth straight win after opening the season 0-3-1.

Columbus held an optional morning skate but Tortorella discussed the changes he's been trying to implement.

"I'm always trying to change no matter the perception that I'm just some sort of idiot that won't change," Tortorella said. "I'm always trying to learn about the game. I think as a coach if you don't, it's going to go by you. I think there is a little bit of perception out there that it's my way or the highway, and that's totally false. I love listening to the players because they see the game differently and I learn from them so that's what we're trying to do."

Tortorella has also stressed a need to communicate with his players and hold them accountable each game.

"I think you're always trying to progress as a coach," he said. "With the situation here, I want the players talking to me. I want to listen to what they have to say because we're in a little bit of a rut. I'm still trying to get used to who they are, even looking at them, so I want them to feel they can come to the coaching staff and we can grow together here.

"You have to go through a process with your team and individual athletes to create a type of accountability, so we're in the middle of that."

Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell has seen a change.

"He's a very intense individual and watching film, he calls guys out, which didn't happen too much before," Hartnell said. "It's a different atmosphere and it makes guys accountable which is a great thing. Hopefully it leads to a bunch more wins here."

Columbus (1-8-0) is playing the third of a four-game road trip that concludes Friday at the Washington Capitals.

Hartnell said he likes the fact he and Tortorella share the same type of fire to succeed.

"When I played against him, you'd look over to his bench when there's a bad penalty against their side and he's yelling and very intense," Hartnell said. "Being on the same side now, that's kind of the way I play. I wear my heart on my sleeve and he does the same thing so it's great."

The last time the Devils had five straight wins was Feb. 2-10, 2013.

Goaltender Cory Schneider, who won his fourth straight game on Saturday in a 4-3 win at the Buffalo Sabres, will make his sixth straight start. Schneider is 9-3-2 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 14 career games against the Blue Jackets.

The Devils top line of Adam Henrique centering Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak has combined for eight goals and 20 points during the four-game winning streak.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon Saad - Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Cam Atkinson

Boone Jenner - William Karlsson - Matt Calvert

Rene Bourque - Gregory Campbell - David Clarkson

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Cody Goloubef - Ryan Murray

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Jared Boll, Kevin Connauton

Injured: Ryan Johansen (illness)


Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak

Jiri Tlusty - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Brian O'Neill - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo

Stefan Matteau - Stephen Gionta - Sergey Kalinin

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - Damon Severson

Eric Gelinas - David Schlemko

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Tuomo Ruutu (right foot), Patrik Elias (right knee)

Scratched: Jon Merrill

Status report: The Blue Jackets did not conduct a full morning skate, so it remains to be seen if Tortorella will stick with the same lineup he had on Saturday when Dubinsky moved to the Blue Jackets' first line in Johansen's absence with Saad and Foligno. Bourque was inserted on the fourth line with Campbell and Clarkson. … Devils coach John Hynes said he will determine prior to faceoff whether or not he will go with six or seven defensemen to begin the game. He may want to have Merrill, who has missed the past four games, back in the lineup. "We feel our defense is a strength so right now we feel like maybe having seven defenders in would also be a benefit," Hynes said. … Gionta and Kalinin switched spots on the fourth line during the morning skate; Gionta was at center and Kalinin at right wing.

Who's hot: Dubinsky has scored a goal in each of the past two games, including his 19th career game-winner in a 4-3 victory at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. … Cammalleri has scored two goals and eight points during a four-game point streak.

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