Columbus Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik is expected to start out on the fourth line in his return to the lineup Thursday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The Blue Jackets and Devils are among four teams in the Metropolitan Division separated by two points, and Gaborik's return after missing the past 22 games with a broken collarbone is a key addition for a Columbus team that starts Thursday three points out of the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards liked the way his top three lines were playing prior to the Olympic break, so Gaborik will begin the game playing alongside Mark Letestu and Derek MacKenzie.
Defenseman Fedor Tyutin was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Dalton Prout is likely to take his place on a pairing with Jack Johnson, while Cody Goloubef was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League.
Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start in goal for Columbus, while Cory Schneider makes his seventh straight start for New Jersey.
Rookie defensemen Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill will both be in the lineup for the Devils, with veterans Anton Volchenkov and Peter Harrold healthy scratches.
Veteran forward Patrik Elias, who missed practice Wednesday to be with his wife when she gave birth to their daughter, was back for the morning skate Thursday and will be in the lineup.
Here's how the Blue Jackets and Devils are expected to look:
Nick Foligno - Artem Anisimov - RJ Umberger
Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Nathan Horton
Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu - Marian Gaborik
Dalton Prout - Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin - David Savard
Scratched: Cody Goloubef, Corey Tropp, Blake Comeau
Injured: Fedor Tyutin (ankle), Jared Boll (ankle surgery)
Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr
Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner
Ryane Clowe - Andrei Loktionov - Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas - Jon Merrill
Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Anton Volchenkov, Peter Harrold