The Columbus Blue Jackets are accumulating wins and points as they head toward the Christmas break. Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, the injuries are piling up as well.
The Blue Jackets bid to extend their good fortune on the scoreboard on Saturday night when they try to beat the visiting New Jersey Devils for the eighth straight time.
First, the positive for Columbus.
Pierre-Luc Dubois recorded his team-leading 12th goal at 1:11 of overtime on Thursday as the Blue Jackets skated to a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles.
The decision gave Columbus three consecutive wins and points in six straight (4-0-2) for the second time this season.
It was Dubois’ third multi-point performance in four outings. The 21-year-old will skate in his 200th career game on Saturday.
Gustav Nyquist set up a pair of goals for his second straight multi-point effort. He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last six games.
“It’s about coming together, and it’s wins like this when you’re down a couple guys already … to be able to come together and get it done is good,” said Boone Jenner, who scored the tying goal with 1:43 remaining in regulation.
And that brings up the negative for Columbus.
Cam Atkinson, who set career highs in goals (41), assists (28) and points (69) last season, sustained a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return. The 30-year-old will sit out the next two contests before the Christmas break, the Blue Jackets announced Friday.
Atkinson is not alone among the injured members on the roster of Columbus, which features Josh Anderson (shoulder), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Sonny Milano (upper body) and Emil Bemstrom (ribs) and defensemen Ryan Murray (upper body), Markus Nutivaara (upper body) and Andrew Peeke (broken finger) on the sideline.
“What do you mean? This is so normal,” captain Nick Foligno said with a smirk, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
New Jersey’s bid for its first three-game winning streak was thwarted by Washington on Friday, 6-3.
“It’s unfortunate that we don’t take advantage of the opportunities given to us,” Devils coach Alain Nasreddine said. “We want to create second opportunities, and it’s something we’re going to address.”
Kyle Palmieri boosted his team-leading goal total to 14 after he recorded his fourth goal in six games during the loss to the Capitals.
“Right back at it. We’ve been playing some good hockey as of late, and we can’t let tonight roll into tomorrow,” said the 28-year-old Palmieri, who had just one assist in the season series with Columbus in 2018-19.
Mackenzie Blackwood made 21 saves before being lifted in favor of Gilles Senn, who made his NHL debut at 8:25 of the third period.
The brief rest could be just what Blackwood needs to make the start on Saturday night. The 23-year-old turned aside 45 of 47 shots in two appearances against the Blue Jackets in 2018-19, but skated away with an 0-1-0 record.
–Field Level Media