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Devils at Blues Jackets preview

Schneider starts for New Jersey; Columbus eyes fourth straight win

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

DEVILS (17-23-7) at BLUE JACKETS (24-16-8)

7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG+ NHL.TV


The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets seek their fourth straight win when they play the New Jersey Devils at Nationwide Arena on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets are 13-2-4 in the past 19 games. Their 30 points are the second-most in the NHL during that span, one fewer than the Tampa Bay Lightning have in 21 games (15-5-1).

Goalie Cory Schneider starts for the Devils, his first NHL start since Nov. 8 against the Edmonton Oilers. Schneider, who was assigned to Binghamton of the American Hockey League on Nov. 19, was recalled by the Devils on Jan. 12 and played in relief Jan. 14 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jan. 16 against the Washington Capitals, allowing four goals on 37 shots.

He is 0-5-1 with a 4.42 goals-against average and .859 save percentage in eight NHL games this season.


Players to watch

Devils forward Wayne Simmonds has four points (one goal, three assists) in a four-game point streak.

Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday in his first game after missing 12 games with an ankle sprain. He has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past 10 games.


They said it

"Any time you have a little bit of a breather you want to build some momentum and feel good about where you left your game." -- Devils forward Blake Coleman on playing their last game until Jan. 27 

"They've been some of our best players. In big games, you need them to step up and make some big saves. It gives the boys on the bench a lot of confidence." -- Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson on goalies Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins   


Devils projected lineup

Miles Wood -- Nico Hischier -- Jesper Bratt

Blake Coleman -- Travis Zajac -- Nikita Gusev

Pavel Zacha -- Jack Hughes -- Wayne Simmonds

Jesper Boqvist -- Kevin Rooney -- John Hayden

Andy Greene -- P.K. Subban

Damon Severson -- Sami Vatanen

Will Butcher -- Connor Carrick

Cory Schneider

Mackenzie Blackwood

Scratched: Mirco Mueller, Michael McLeod

Injured: Louis Domingue (lower body), Kyle Palmieri (left foot), Ben Street (upper body)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Emil Bemstrom

Nathan Gerbe -- Alexander Wennberg -- Cam Atkinson 

Jakob Lilja -- Boone Jenner -- Kevin Stenlund

Eric Robinson -- Riley Nash -- Nick Foligno

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Markus Nutivaara

Elvis Merzlikins

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Sonny Milano, Adam Clendening

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Oliver Bjorkstrand (rib, oblique), Ryan Murray (lower body), Joonas Korpisalo (knee), Alexandre Texier (back), Dean Kukan (knee)


Status report

Domingue, a goalie, sustained a "minor" injury during a 5-2 loss to the Capitals on Thursday, Devils coach Alain Nasreddine said. … Rooney returns after missing one game due to illness. … The Blue Jackets did not hold a morning skate. 


Stat pack

Coleman, who leads the Devils with 19 goals, has four in the past two games and seven goals in the past seven games. … Merzlikins is 7-2-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average, .949 save percentage and two shutouts in his past nine starts. He is 3-1-1 with a 1.32 GAA and a .961 save percentage in six games at Nationwide Arena. … The Blue Jackets are 6-1-1 in their past eight home games, outscoring the opposition 25-11.

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