NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 23rd
(All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (29-31-12) at New Jersey Devils (42-25-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to recover their scoring
touch tonight when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets for an
interconference clash at Prudential Center.
Since posting a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh last Wednesday, the Devils have scored
just one total goal in back-to-back losses. New Jersey dropped a 2-1 shootout
decision in Toronto on Thursday and was then dealt a 1-0 regulation loss
Saturday against visiting St. Louis.
The Devils enter tonight trailing idle Pittsburgh by just two points for the
Atlantic Division lead. If Jersey is unable to outlast the Penguins for the
division title the Devils are still in great shape to claim home-ice advantage
in the first round of the playoffs. New Jersey is seven points ahead of Ottawa
for the East's fourth seed.
New Jersey has a great chance to get its offense back on track tonight against
Columbus. The Blue Jackets, who are 14th out of 15 teams in the West
standings, have given up 229 goals this year, placing them near the bottom of
NHL teams defensively.
Ty Conklin blanked the Devils on Saturday, making 29 saves to backstop the
visiting Blues to the 1-0 victory. Alexander Steen was the only player who
found the back of the net for either team, beating New Jersey goaltender
Martin Brodeur late in the first period with a slap shot.
"(Steen) made a pretty good shot. I was in good position, but he just beat me
clean," Brodeur said.
Brodeur finished with 19 saves and is expected to get a chance at his 40th win
of the season with another start tonight. Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader
in wins, has more 40-win seasons (7) than any other goaltender in league
The Devils have an excellent 24-10-1 record as the host this year, but had a
five-game home winning streak snapped Saturday. New Jersey will close out this
three-game homestand Thursday night against the New York Rangers.
Columbus also lost by a 1-0 score on Saturday, dropping an overtime decision
in Nashville to have a two-game win streak halted. Cody Franson scored 1:54
into overtime to lift the Predators to victory at Bridgestone Arena.
In the extra session, Franson snapped a shot from the right point that
squeezed through Columbus goaltender Steve Mason and trickled across the goal
"I thought we managed it well. I thought we did a lot of good things," said
Blue Jackets head coach Claude Noel. "I thought our effort to score, our
effort to win was exactly what it needed to be."
Mason finished with 30 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have lost 14 straight
(0-9-5) in the Music City. Columbus has lost four of its last five on the road
overall and is just 11-20-5 as the visiting team this season.
The Devils have won three of four and four of the last six matchups with
Columbus overall. The Blue Jackets have never won in New Jersey, going 0-2
with a tie in three all-time trips to the Garden State.
03/23 10:45:12 ET