Columbus Blue Jackets (16-17-4) at New Jersey Devils (15-16-7)
|Date & Time||Friday December 27, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils -126 / Columbus Blue Jackets +114 --- Over/Under: 5
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Right now the only thing keeping the New Jersey Devils afloat is the National Hockey League's loser point. At 15-16-7 the Devils have really lost 23 of their 38 games this season, but because the NHL awards points for overtime or shootout losses the Devils still find themselves in contention. New Jersey had won three of their last four games because being completely overmatched against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in Chicago on Monday night. Michael Ryder's 11th goal of the season cut the Devils' deficit to 3-2 just under a minute into the third period but Chicago turned on the jets from their on their way to a 5-2 win. Cory Schneider took the loss in this one, dropping his record to 4-8-5 on the season. Schneider has been a bit of a disappointment after the Devils traded a top 10 pick to Vancouver in order to acquire him this summer at the draft. Peter Deboer seems insistent on giving Martin Brodeur his share of starts so it doesn't seem like Schneider will be able to get out of this slump by playing a string of games in a row. New Jersey still lacks the goal scoring to get by if they don't get good goaltending every night so they're going to need Schneider and Brodeur to be better moving forward. The Devils managed just 12 shots on goal in this one and there's been too many occasions this year where they have had nights like this. The Columbus Blue Jackets have worked themselves back into contention in the Metropolitan Division and they've scored 10 goals in their last two wins. The Blue Jackets are in a stretch where they're playing six of seven games on the road so they'll look to keep that high powered offense going to keep them alive through this stretch. New Jersey has done a great job this year at minimizing quality scoring chances from their opponents but when the talent level is significant it hasn't seemed to matter much. Columbus got goals from Artem Anisimov, Corey Tropp, Ryan Johansen, and Jack Skille as they rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. Mike McKenna picked up his first victory of the year for the Blue Jackets who are trying to get by in goal right now with Sergei Bobrovsky down. Columbus has a team that can play over it's head the second half of the season as we saw last year. They'll need a strong effort on the road on Friday night but they have enough to get it done in this one.