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Devils visit Blue Jackets aiming to build off 1st win
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to build off their first win of the season when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets in Tuesday's Metropolitan Division battle at Nationwide Arena.
The Devils began the season with an 0-4-3 record before finally recording a victory in Saturday's dominating effort against the visiting New York Rangers. New Jersey broke out of its early-season slump in a big way, getting goals from four different players en route to a 4-0 rout of the Rangers at Prudential Center.
New Jersey's victory came without the services of forwards Patrik Elias and Damien Brunner. Elias sat out Saturday's win with the flu, but is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday. Brunner, meanwhile, is questionable with an upper-body injury. Fellow forward Stephen Gionta is also questionable for tonight's game after he suffered a bruised knee in Saturday's win.
Andrei Loktionov and Adam Henrique each scored for the Devils in the first period on Saturday, with Michael Ryder and Dainius Zubrus lighting the lamp in the second stanza to help the Devils end their franchise-worst seven-game losing streak to begin the 2013-14 campaign.
"I think the effort's been there a lot of nights, but obviously the result hasn't been there," said Henrique. "Tonight the guys played a full 60 minutes even when we were ahead. I thought everybody played great."
Cory Schneider, making his initial home start in a New Jersey sweater, needed to make just 22 saves to record his first shutout with his new team. Schneider outshone counterpart Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped only 15-of-19 shots.
Schneider will get the call in net on Tuesday, marking the first time he will be starting in consecutive games for the Devils. Schneider, who was acquired over the summer in a blockbuster trade with Vancouver, is 1-2-1 with a 1.99 goals against average and .927 save percentage.
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey's longtime No. 1 goaltender, has struggled mightily this season, going 0-2-2 with a 3.40 GAA and .865 save percentage.
Tuesday's contest marks the first divisional battle between Columbus and New Jersey, as both teams are now part of the Metro Division thanks to the onset of realignment.
The Devils have dominated the series against Columbus over the years, going 8-2-1 with a tie in the 12 all-time meetings between the clubs. New Jersey has taken the last five encounters and the Blue Jackets haven't won a game in this series since posting a 3-2 overtime win on home ice back on Dec. 11, 2005.
Like the Devils, Columbus also will try to stay on the right track tonight after the Blue Jackets halted a four-game slide in their last trip to the ice. R.J. Umberger scored the game-winner in the third period as Columbus posted a 3-1 decision over the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Umberger and Ryan Johansen each posted a goal and an assist while Marian Gaborik also scored for the Blue Jackets, who won for the first time since beating Buffalo on Oct. 10.
Curtis McElhinney stopped 37 shots in the win.
"I wanted to come in here and make an impression with these guys, leave a good impression," McElhinney said of his spot start between the pipes. "Hopefully I did that tonight."
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky expects to get the start in net for Columbus on Tuesday. The Russian netminder has started four career games against the Devils and is 1-2-1 with a lofty 4.50 GAA in those outings.
Columbus is playing the second test of a four-game homestand on Tuesday and also will host Toronto and Anaheim before heading back out on the road.
10/22 11:00:30 ET