Devils-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: New Jersey Devils (25-12-10-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (14-25-7-3).
TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.
Rick Nash is the main reason why the Columbus Blue Jackets aren't the worst
team in the league.
Nash will try to add to his NHL-leading goal total when the Blue Jackets
host the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils.
With a pair of goals in a 4-3 victory over Chicago on Saturday, Nash upped
his league-leading total to 30. Vancouver's Markus Naslund is second with 27.
``I really never thought I'd be here,'' said Nash, the No. 1 overall pick in
the 2002 draft. ``I owe a lot to the team and to the power play. Almost half of
them are power-play goals. (David) Vyborny assisted on about 80 percent of
them, so I owe a lot to him.''
Fourteen of Nash's goals have come with the man advantage, while Vyborny has
17 assists and his 30 points are second on the team, six behind Nash.
The Blue Jackets, however, are the second-worst team in the Western
Conference, and are just eight points ahead of league-worst Pittsburgh.
Columbus has just one loss in its last five (3-1-1), including wins over
playoff hopefuls St. Louis and Los Angeles.
The Devils have won four of their last five, but are still looking up at
Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia. After this game, New Jersey finishes
its three-game road trip with stops at Detroit and St. Louis.
Following a 10-game goal drought, Devils left wing Jeff Friesen has scored
in three of the last four contests. Friesen scored his third game-winning goal
this season in New Jersey's 3-2 victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
Friesen took advantage of a giveaway by Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and scored
the winner early in the third period for his 11th of the season.
``Sometimes you get in slumps and, for whatever reason, guys don't get on
the same page,'' Friesen said. ``Sometimes it's a frustrating rut to get out
of, but I feel I'm out of the rut now and I'm starting to contribute
Martin Brodeur made 24 saves and Grant Marshall scored a goal and set up
another by Patrik Elias for the Devils, who have just one loss in their last