Game preview: Blue Jackets and Devils battle it out nationally on Tuesday as Columbus looks to stop slipping
|NEW JERSEY DEVILS|
19–29–5 (43 points; 0.399%)
7:00 p.m. – TUESDAY MARCH 1
ESPN+ Hockey Night (ESPN+/Hulu)
*Not available on Bally Sports*
For the fourth and final time this season, the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils will square off when the two teams meet Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.
The Devils scored three goals in each of the first three games, but the Blue Jackets scored four in two of them, winning two of three games.
Three, of course, is also the number of goals Columbus allowed Pittsburgh in Sunday’s controversial 3-2 loss. It was the Blue Jackets’ second straight loss after a four-game winning streak that put the club (barely) back in the conversation for a potential Stanley Cup Playoff berth. At 27-25-1 and on 85-point pace, the Blue Jackets would need to finish the season roughly 20-7-2 to make up enough ground to catch the current 98-point pace of the team that last wildcard spot. , the capitals of Washington.
A win on Tuesday would bring March like a lion for the Blue Jackets, who will also need it to emerge as one if they have a playoff spot in mind.
|GAIT & PROJECTIONS|
|47.9%||MONEYPUCK’S ODDS OF WINNING||52.1%|
|62.0%||THE 538 ODDS OF WINNING||38.0%|
|85.1||82 GAME POINT PACE||66.5|
Which version of the Devils will show up on Tuesday night: the ones that crushed Vancouver 7-2 Monday night at Newark, or the one that allowed eight goals in an 8-5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks? Those who mauled the Penguins 6-1 in Pittsburgh last week, or those who needed that victory to stop a 2-9-1 slide that began in late January?
Statistically, the Devils are led on offense by Jesper Bratt. He’s the team leader in points with 50 (19 goals, 31 assists), and that includes his third straight multi-point night in their win over the Canucks.
But in reality, the Devils may be led by Jack Hughes, who isn’t old enough to drink yet. Hughes had his *fourth* consecutive multi-point effort on Monday, and despite appearing in just 33 games, Hughes is another multi-point night away from the 40-point mark for the season. In his third season in the league, Hughes continues to make great strides as a player and could be a true superstar in the very near future.
As with Columbus, the experience was one of a few critical downfalls for New Jersey. Both teams bounce back being the youngest in the league, depending on who’s in the lineup each night. Hopefully the Devils are a little tired too: New Jersey is 2-6-2 this season on the second night of straight games.
After an 11-game point streak, Patrik Laine was knocked off the scoresheet in losses to Carolina and Pittsburgh over the weekend — and like Laine does, so are the Blue Jackets. They are 10-1-0 in Laine’s multi-point games (and 8-4-0 when he has just one point), but 1-10-0 when he is in the lineup and ‘ he didn’t score (and 8-10-1 while out of the lineup with an oblique injury.) Expect Laine to record some big minutes on Tuesday in a bid to break the mini- schneid.
You can’t score if you don’t have the puck, and the Blue Jackets have struggled with puck possession in recent games. Their 47.7% Corsi average for the season is 22nd in the league, but over the last five games they’ve only controlled the puck 41.4% of the time. That would last nearly 2% if he were to hold out over the course of a season. You must have the puck to score the puck – it’s not rocket science.
*SUBJECT TO CHANGE
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