In a week that will involve the trade deadline and the retirement of the legendary Patrik Elias’ #26, the Devils look to start on the right foot against a division foe.
The Matchup: The Columbus Blue Jackets (29-25-5; SBN Blog: The Cannon) at the New Jersey Devils (31-20-8)
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: MSG+
Streaky Blue Jackets: For an extended period of time, earlier this season, the Columbus Blue Jackets ran the Metropolitan Division. Their play has been up and down however, and for the last two months or so it appears to be more down than up. Sitting at seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, it would take some good, consistent play from Columbus in their final 23 games to secure a top-3 spot in the Metro. Consistent play is not something they have shown much of in this under-performing stretch. And so, as we sit less than a week from the trade deadline, there’s a contingency of Jackets faithful calling for the executioner to sharpen his axe.
If the Jackets turn out to be sellers in a week’s time, names such as Jack Johnson, Nick Foligno, and Ryan Murray would become available for the other teams to swoon over. But I somehow doubt that Columbus presses the self-destruct button here and restarts with a new identity next season. The Blue Jackets have Artemi Panarin, Zach Werenski, and Sergei Bobrovsky all coming off the books in Summer 2019, and so I suspect an effort will be made to contend while those three names are still inked in Columbus.
The good folks over at the Cannon believe that the Jackets are likely to have some sort of hybrid deadline where they look to upgrade, but not at an extremely high cost. Their article on the topic can be viewed here.
The Devils’ Previous Game: New Jersey went from losing games to Ottawa and the Islanders a month ago to beating the East’s best team and winning four-straight games. In their last one the Devils outlasted the Carolina Hurricanes, surviving a late blown lead, and eventually topping the ‘Canes in overtime by a final of 3-2. Thanks to the point awarded them by New Jersey, Carolina was able to leap frog the New York Islanders for the second Eastern Conference Wild Card spot. They sit six points back of the Devils as we enter action on Tuesday night.
Here’s a link for John’s recap of the most recent Devils-Canes game.
Mind The Gap: New Jersey’s goaltending was other-worldly over the weekend. The Devils as a team were outshot 92-49 in 120 minutes of action, but Keith Kinkaid and Eddie Lack stood tall in games where they both had to play very well in order to record the victory.
Hall: Taylor Hall has points in his last 18 games. He’s been a stud all-year long, and continues to play at a very high level. He’s the undisputed MVP of this team. Not exactly a hot take, just stating what should already be heralded as fact.
Injury Updates: No news on the Devils’ injury front.
Your Take: By the way, Nico Hischier was named this week’s NHL First Star. Let us know what you think the Devils will do in the lead-up to trade deadline day. Give your opinions on the four-game win streak. Will you be in the building for Patrik Elias’ jersey retirement ceremony on Saturday?