COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils will get accustomed to each other over the following 4 days.
The Metropolitan Division opponents will play one another twice in a home-and-home beginning Thursday night time at Nationwide Enviornment. Columbus will then go to New Jersey on Sunday within the ultimate sport earlier than the Christmas break.
“We now have some division video games arising, which I like,” Blue Jackets middle Brandon Dubinsky mentioned, in response to the group’s web site. “I’ve performed a whole lot of video games in my profession towards the blokes arising, and I am enthusiastic about that.”
The vibe going into the primary assembly is completely different on both sides.
The Blue Jackets (18-12-Three) are feeling constructive concerning the state of their sport after a 1-Zero victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night time with out main scorer Artemi Panarin within the lineup due to a lower-body damage. With a win, the Blue Jackets would shut out a season-long six-game homestand that began with two losses with a Three-2-1 document.
Columbus has received two of its final three video games and usually performed nicely throughout the prolonged house keep, dropping a number of shut video games that might have gone both manner relying on a number of bounces of the puck right here and there.
Panarin is anticipated to return for Thursday’s sport and rejoin the highest line with Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella did not disclose Wednesday which participant would come out of the lineup for Panarin, however it will likely be a troublesome resolution.
“It isn’t a problem, it is a good factor,” Tortorella mentioned.
Anthony Duclair most likely will not be popping out. He was inserted into Panarin’s spot towards Vegas and impressed Tortorella along with his play after being a wholesome scratch for 2 video games.
“I believed Duke, the pace that he can present, among the issues that he can do, I simply hope he understands the opposite a part of it as a result of I would like to preserve him within the lineup,” Tortorella mentioned. “However that is gonna fall on him.”
The gifted however inconsistent 23-year-old Duclair hadn’t performed a lot not too long ago as a result of Tortorella says he must be higher away from the puck.
“I simply have to realize his belief as we go on right here,” Duclair mentioned, in response to the group’s web site. “I am a competitor. I need to play each sport. I do not need to be sitting out.
“After I’m within the lineup, I need to play as many minutes as doable and assist the group in any manner I can. I simply needed to do all of these issues proper and hopefully keep within the lineup.”
Duclair might find yourself on the second line with group captain Nick Foligno and middle Alexander Wennberg.
The Blue Jackets can be dealing with a group that is languishing. The Devils (11-14-7) have slid to the underside of the Metropolitan Division standings after dropping seven of eight video games in December.
New Jersey returns house Friday night time to face the Ottawa Senators to shut out a again to again earlier than the Blue Jackets’ go to on Sunday.
“The most important factor is that we now have to be a group that performs with consideration to element,” Devils coach John Hynes mentioned. “We will not have passengers. We had 20 passengers (Tuesday) night time.”
Hynes was referring to Tuesday’s 7-2 loss at house to the Toronto Maple Leafs on house ice.
The Devils’ difficulties may be traced to stopping opponents. They’re giving up Three.63 objectives per sport. Goaltender Keith Kincaid, who’s now the No. 1 goalie with struggling Cory Schneider on injured reserve, has a Three.00 goals-against common and a .902 save share.
“We’re a blue-collar group that has to work for the whole lot we need to earn,” Hynes mentioned. “You are pushing and pushing and pushing.”