Columbus Blue Jackets (29-24-5) at New Jersey Devils (24-22-13), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will continue their push for a
playoff spot when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and they expect
to have Marian Gaborik back in the lineup to help.
The Blue Jackets are playing their first game following the NHL's Olympic
break and the layoff has given Gaborik time to recover from a broken
collarbone. The injury forced the Slovakian winger to skip the Sochi Olympics,
but he should be ready to go on Thursday.
Gaborik, who hasn't played since Dec. 21 against Philadelphia, has skated in
only 18 games this season, recording five goals and seven assists during his
"I worked hard over the (Olympic break) to get back, and hopefully it's not
going to take me too long to get into game shape," Gaborik told his club's
official website. "I feel pretty good out there; I'm looking forward to this
... it's been a while. It's going to be a tough stretch, but every team is in
the same situation."
The Blue Jackets, who made their one and only trip to the postseason in the
spring of 2009, are three points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern
Columbus had lost two straight and five of its last eight games before the
Olympics, but the club hopes to get its post-Sochi schedule off to a positive
start tonight. The Blue Jackets are 3-0 against the Devils this season and can
complete a season series sweep of their Metropolitan Division rivals on
The Devils are only two points behind the Blue Jackets in the standings, but
the club hopes to pick up the pace after the Olympics. New Jersey dropped
three of four and five of its last seven games before the break.
Cory Schneider expects to get the start in net for New Jersey, taking on
Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. Schneider has a career 6-2-1 record and a
2.05 goals against average against the Blue Jackets, while Bobrovsky has
struggled to a 2-2-1 mark and a 3.74 GAA in five lifetime appearances against
The Blue Jackets and Devils last faced each other on Dec. 27 in New Jersey.
Columbus posted a 2-1 shootout victory in that meeting to earn its first ever
victory in the Garden State. The Jackets were 0-3-1 with a tie in their
previous five games in New Jersey.
Devils forward Patrik Elias expects to be in the lineup tonight after missing
two games for the Czech Republic due to an illness picked up while in Sochi.
"Something was going around (in Sochi)" Elias told the Devils official
website. "A few of the athletes got sick. I got a fever for four days, I
couldn't really breathe much, I had bad bronchitis. Wrong time, but I'm happy
to be back now and feeling well."
02/27 10:36:30 ET
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