Columbus Blue Jackets (29-24-5) at New Jersey Devils (24-22-13)
7:00 PM ET • Prudential Center • MSG Plus 2, Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN
New Jersey will have an optional 10:30 AM morning skate at Prudential Center. Head Coach Peter DeBoer will be available to the media in the hallway outside of the Devils’ Locker Room just after 10:30.
Tonight’s game marks New Jersey’s return from the Olympic break. Fourteen of the Devils’ 23 remaining games will be played at Prudential Center.
Despite a 3-0 loss at Washington on February 8, New Jersey has points in 12 of its last 16 games (7-4-5=19pts) and in 19 of its last 26 contests (12-7-7=31pts).
The Devils’ top-ranked penalty-kill unit was 4/4 on February 8 and is 36/39 (92.3%) over the last 12 games.
New Jersey is 10-8-3=23pts vs. Metropolitan Division opponents this season.
The Devils’ penalty-kill unit was 3/3 last night and is 32/35 (91.4%) over the last 11 games. New Jersey is 165/189 (87.1%) on the PK this season, which is tops in the NHL (2nd, Pittsburgh, 154/177, 87.0%). At home, the Devils are 81/88 (92.0%) which is second only to Pittsburgh (70/76, 92.1%). New Jersey’s 8.0 PIM per game is the second-fewest in the NHL (Carolina, 7.8).
The Devils are allowing just 25.4 shots per-game, which is the fewest in the NHL. New Jersey has allowed a league-low 51 goals-against at home and its 2.34 goals-against per-game overall ranks fifth.
Cory Schneider will make his seventh straight start in goal tonight. He made 23 saves (+ 2 ENG) on February 8 at Washington and has been the starter in six of the seven games in which New Jersey has been shut out this season.
Schneider is 7-3-4 with one ShO, a 1.44 GAA & .944 save-percentage in his last 15 appearances. He’s held opponents to two-goals-or-less in 13 of his last 14 starts. He ranks second in the NHL with a 1.85 goals-against average (J. Harding, Min., 1.65) and is eighth with a .926 save-percentage this season. Since January 1, however, he’s first with a 1.47 GAA and a .942 save % among goaltenders who have appeared in at least 10 games.
Jaromir Jagr had an assist on February 7 vs. Edmonton and now has 1,039 in his NHL career, just one behind Marcel Dionne (1,040a) for ninth place all-time.
Devils vs. Blue Jackets
Tonight’s game between the Devils and the Blue Jackets marks the fourth/final meeting between the teams this season, and the second to be played in New Jersey.
Columbus leads the season series 3-0-0 following a 2-1 shootout win at Prudential Center on December 27.
Patrik Elias has 3a to lead the Devils, while Brandon Dubinsky has 2g-5a-7pts to lead the Blue Jackets. Martin Brodeur (0-1-1, 2.92 goals-against average & .887 save-percentage) and Cory Schneider (0-1-0, 3.11 GAA & .870 save %) have split the goaltending duties for New Jersey, while Sergei Bobrovsky (1-0-0, 1.00 GAA & .960 save %) and Curtis McElhinney (2-0-0, 2.40 GAA & .902 save %) have each seen action for Columbus.
Elias is the Devils’ all-time leading scorer vs. the Blue Jackets with 3g-9a-12pts in 13 games. Dubinsky has 12g-14a-26pts in 35 career games vs. the Devils to lead Columbus’ active skaters.
Schneider is 6-2-1 with 1 ShO, 2.05 goals-against average and a .931 save-percentage in nine career games vs. Columbus. Brodeur is now 7-3-3 with 2 ShO, a 2.19 GAA and .911 save % all-time vs. the Blue Jackets. Bobrovsky is 2-2-1 with a 3.74 GAA and .882 save % in five games vs. New Jersey, while McElhinney is now 3-0-0 with a 1.79 GAA and .932 save % in four appearances vs. the Devils.
New Jersey leads the all-time series vs. the Blue Jackets 8-4-3, including a 4-0-2 mark in its previous six home games.
Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky each competed for the Czech Republic at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Zidlicky led the team with 2g-2a-4pts in five games (tie, A. Hemsky, 3g-1a-4pts & T. Plekanec, 1g-3a-4pts). Jagr recorded 2g-1a-3pts in five games, while Elias, who missed two games due to illness, posted 1a in three appearances. Jagr, who was a member of the country’s Gold Medal-winning team in 1998, competed in his fifth Olympic Games. He became the eighth player in Olympic history to do so, joining Raimo Helminen (6, Fin.), Teemu Selanne (Fin.), Dieter Hegen (Ger.), Udo Kiessling (Ger.), Denis Perez (Fra.), Petter Thorenson (Nor.) & Jere Lehtinen (Fin.). Elias represented his country for the fourth time and Zidlicky for the third time. Damien Brunner was a member of Team Switzerland for the first time. He finished third on the club with 11 shots on goal in four games.
Ryane Clowe needs eight points to reach 300 in his NHL career.
Adam Henrique needs six points to reach 100 in his NHL career.
Jaromir Jagr needs two goals to reach 700 in his NHL career.
Travis Zajac needs three assists to reach 200 in his NHL career.
There are no injuries to report at this time.
Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 212
Feb. 24: Recalled defenseman Eric Gelinas from Albany (AHL).
Feb. 20: Recalled defenseman Jon Merrill from Albany.
Feb. 9: Assigned defenseman Jon Merrill to Albany.
Feb. 3: Activated defenseman Peter Harrold from Injured Reserve.
Feb. 1: Assigned forward Mike Sislo to Albany (AHL).