A milestone evening alongside the end of a home stand and the start of a back to back and home and home series is on tap for the Blue Jackets where they take on the New Jersey Devils.
Head coach John Tortorella is coaching in his 1,000 NHL game. This is an amazing milestone as he is the first Jackets to accomplish this feat. It's also to interesting to see an extremely disciplined players coach to go this far in his career. He has been a bench boss for the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks.
The season series between these teams is 3-0 Columbus. The Jackets beat the Devils at the Rock 3-1; the second time was a 2-1 score. At Nationwide, the Jackets had a 6-1 domination victory of the Devils.
In terms of lineups, Dalton Prout is back from his suspension, but suffered an injury in practice on Friday; he took a puck to the face (game-time decision) , so Justin Falk is staying in the lineup for Columbus. Fedor Tyutin is a game time decision due to illness, but if he returns, expect him to replace John Ramage. Brandon Dubinsky is back at center, and Alex Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstrand are on the third line together; Scott Hartnell and Nick Foligno are on the top line; the Brandon Saad/Boone Jenner/Cam Atkinson line is now on the second line. Curtis McElhinney sustained a knee injury in practice, forcing the Jackets to recall Joonas Korpisalo; David Clarkson announced he has a back injury that has been nagging at him the past couple of seasons. Also, Matt Calvert is one the third line, whereas William Karlsson will be a winger tonight. Torts has also messed around with the defensive pairings.
For New Jersey, the Devils are still without Cory Schneider in net, making Keith Kinkaid the starter yet again. The Devils are also without Mike Cammalleri and Patrick Elias due to injuries, though they could return soon. David Schlemko is out at least tonight due to a lower body injury. Mike Sislo (illness) is a game time decision; Jon Merill is in for the injured David Schlemko; Seth Hegleson is in for David Warsofsky.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Scott Hartnell - Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno
Brandon Saad - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert - Alex Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand
William Karlsson - Michael Chaput - Gregory Campbell
David Savard - Seth Jones
Ryan Murray - Dalton Prout
Fedor Tyutin - Cody Goloubef
Scratched: Rene Borque, Jared Boll, Justin Falk
Injured: Jack Johnson (shoulder), David Clarkson (back), Curtis McElhinney (knee)
New Jersey Devils
Tyler Kennedy - Adam Henrique - Devante Smith-Pelly
Reid Boucher - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Joseph Blandisi - Sergey Kalinin - Mike Sislo
Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Tummo Ruutu
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
John Moore - Jon Merill
Seth Helgeson - Damon Severson
Scratched: Brian O'Neill, David Warsofsky
Injured: Mike Cammalleri (hand), Patrick Elias (knee), Cory Schneider (knee), Jacob Josefson (hand), Jordin Tootoo (UBI), David Schlemko (UBI)
Players to Watch
Columbus: David Savard. Head coach John Tortorella is giving the young defenseman top minutes tonight. It has been a while since he had top minutes, it was before Seth Jones joined the team.
New Jersey: DSP. Devante Smith-Pelly came to New Jersey at the trade deadline in exchange for Stefan Matteau (MTL), and has been on fire since reuniting with ex-Duck teammate Kyle Palmieri.
Enjoy the games tonight. More to come…