NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 27th
(All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (16-17-4) at New Jersey Devils (15-16-7), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will aim for their first
three-game winning streak since October when they visit the New Jersey Devils
for Friday's Metropolitan Division battle at Prudential Center.
The Blue Jackets won their last two games prior to the Christmas break,
beating visiting Philadelphia last Saturday to split a home-and-home series
before taking Monday's decision at Carolina. It marked the third two-game
winning streak of the month for Columbus, which hasn't won three straight
since Oct. 20-25.
Ryan Johansen and Jack Skille provided some late heroics for the Blue Jackets
in their most recent win, as the pair scored 1:28 apart late in the third
period to boost the Columbus to a 4-3 win over Hurricanes. Johansen tied the
game with 4:02 left and Skille put the Blue Jackets in front at 17:26 of the
third with a rising shot from the right circle that beat Justin Peters.
"We're that type of team that we don't give up," Skille said. "We have a lot
of character in the room and everyone wants to win and finish games strong.
That was the key to the third period."
Mike McKenna stood tall with 30 saves, including a stop on Jeff Skinner from
in close in the final 30 seconds after the Hurricanes pulled Peters for the
Corey Tropp and Artem Anisimov also scored for the Blue Jackets, who are 7-9-2
as the road team this season. New Jersey, meanwhile, is just 7-5-4 as the
A victory tonight for Columbus would secure a win in the season series with
New Jersey. The Blue Jackets won the first two of four scheduled meetings this
season but Friday's encounter marks the first tilt in the Garden State, where
the Devils are 4-0 with a tie in five all-time games against Columbus.
New Jersey lost its final tilt before the Christmas break, dropping a 5-2
decision Monday night in Chicago. Stephen Gionta and Michael Ryder tallied a
goal apiece in the loss, while Cory Schneider allowed all five goals on 37
shots for the Devils, who had a four-game point streak (3-0-1) halted.
"That's a great team," New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer said of Chicago.
"They can make you look bad if you're not on your game, and we weren't on our
Devils forward Andrei Loktionov missed the last two games due to an illness,
but he expects to play on Friday. He has three goals and four assists in 32
games this season.
12/27 10:40:36 ET