The New Jersey Devils are set to host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the next game of the NHL regular season.
The New Jersey Devils recently broke a three-game winless streak, demonstrating confidence in their recent performances. They transition into Thursday with a showdown against the Columbus Blue Jackets, pushing to fortify their position following a successful home tour. Timo Meier put up an exceptional performance, scoring two goals in the match against the Detroit Red Wings, thus, boosting his total goals to 3 in the last two games. This is a significant improvement from his early season outcomes.
Head coach Lindy Ruff acknowledges Meier's contribution, as well as his linemates McLeod and Mercer's. Tyler Toffoli also contributed to the team's triumph, netting his second goal of the month. On average, the Devils hammer in 3.41 goals per game - a testament to their attacking capability. In their latest game, they executed 3 goals out of 36 shots. However, New Jersey continues to grapple with defensive difficulties, yielding on average 3.56 goals per game. Vitek Vanecek, with a record of 12-6-1, aims to enhance his save percentage of .884 and a 3.28 GAA ratio. The team needs to continue exemplifying the same vigor and strength in defense to succeed in forthcoming games.
Columbus Blue Jackets have been inconsistent with their NHL games recently. Despite an overtime loss to the Washington Capitals with a score of 2:3 and a subsequent 1:4 defeat from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus remains confident. Head coach Pascal Vincent points out the North play allowed the team to be more harmonized and handle the puck better. In the last 10 home ice games, the team has a 4-4-2 record, delivering tenacity in the field. Columbus' offensive prowess features players like Danforth, who scored a goal in a match against the Devils, and outstanding rookie Fantilli, generating impressive results with 5 goals and 5 assists in the last 11 games. Jenner and Werenski also stand out as crucial figures.
But on the flip side, Columbus faces defensive challenges, conceding on average 3.63 goals per game, necessitating improvements in defense strategy and efforts. The goaltending line, where Russian Tarasov evidences a 4.60 GAA and save percentage of .852, also suffers under pressure. Despite these challenges, the team exudes determination to surmount current difficulties. The upcoming match against the Devils serves as a significant test for Columbus to prove its resilience and showcase a better performance.
In the latest face-to-face match on December 16, New Jersey crushed Columbus on their home ground with a scoreline of 6:3. Jack Hughes appended his second hat trick in his career. For the Devils, they have secured four victories in the last five matches, with Columbus only succeeding with a 2:1 scoreline on November 24 this season.
The Devils have been performing exceedingly well in the last five home games, conceding only 13 goals and overall, seem superior to the Jackets. Therefore, my bet lies on the home team's victory.