The Columbus Blue Jackets (36-26-3) are on the road following a 2-3 homestand to take on the New Jersey Devils (25-33-8) at the Prudential Center tonight. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 7:00 PM ET.
With high hopes following the moves made by general manager Jarmo Kekalainen last week, the Blue Jackets have struggled a bit to live up to the new expectations. For a team that’s never made it out of the first round of the playoffs, the CBJ went all in – making a statement that another one-and-done wouldn’t be good enough.
Fast forward a week and the Jackets are on the outside looking in, fighting to get back on the right side of the line.
Following Sunday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets, many players in the CBJ dressing room echoed a similar sentiment: they should have had a better fate than the 5-2 final score indicated.
The offense, which got a shot in the arm with the additions of Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, has been held to seven regulation goals in their last four contests with 133 regulation shots on goal during that stretch. The law of averages says that won’t continue.
If the Blue Jackets are going to turn things around, the numbers say it could be tonight against New Jersey.
On the road this year, the CBJ are 19-10-1. Take a look at the rest of the National Hockey League and see which teams have more victories away from home this year. The Jackets have some pretty good company in that aspect of their game.
Another factor that should be in Columbus’ favor is simply the strength of their opponent. The Devils enter tonight’s contest in last place in the Metropolitan Division, losers of four of their last five games. They’ve struggled defensively all year, coming into tonight’s matchup ranked 27th in the NHL in goals allowed per game.
While fans seems to be panicking about the Blue Jackets’ recent slide, the team knows there’s still time to get things right. With the clock ticking on the regular season and the team currently below the cut line, there’s clearly work to do, and it all starts tonight in New Jersey.