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Gameday Guide: Jan. 8 vs. New Jersey

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It’s not quite the shortened 2021 season when games were largely played in two-game sets in order to minimize travel, but there will be a number of home-and-home series in the second half of the schedule this year for the Blue Jackets. 

The team already played one this year against Colorado and will complete a second one tonight when it hosts New Jersey in Nationwide Arena. This game comes on the heels of Thursday night game in the Garden State, which the Devils took by a 3-1 final by scoring the two lone goals of the third period. 

There are also home-and-home on the schedule later this year against the New York Islanders (March 29 and 31), Boston (April 2 and 4) and Philadelphia (April 5-7). 

“We actually did this all last year, you were playing two-game sets all the time,” head coach Brad Larsen said. “It’s easier on the coaching staff, I’ll tell you that, as far as your prescouting and going through things. You get your game review, plus it feeds right into what you’re doing against your opponent tonight. We had so much of it last year. I don’t think it’s an advantage or a disadvantage, but for us it’s an easier sell job on the fix in what we need to do to try to be better and try to add to the things we did well that game.” 

One thing that should help as the Blue Jackets try to find a different result — Columbus will welcome back Zach Werenski after the defenseman missed two straight games in COVID protocols.  

Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek will be recognized in a pregame ceremony for playing in his 1,000th NHL game on Thursday. In addition, the Blue Jackets will be celebrating First Responders Night, honoring local police, fire and more. 

3 Keys to the Game 

Ride the waves: For a young team, learning how to handle game situations can be one of the toughest things to do. It’s something the Jackets can keep improving on as the year goes on, too. 

Convert chances: Columbus could have blown the game open Thursday as it had a ton of scoring chances in the opening 25 minutes, but could only convert once.  

Zach is back: Having Werenski on the ice can do nothing but help, as he plays in all situations and can help dictate the pace of the game. 

Notable 

Vladislav Gavrikov‘s assist Thursday night was his 14th on the year, setting a new career high for the defenseman. … Forward Gus Nyquist has two multipoint games in his last three contests. … Voracek is tied for second in the NHL with 18 primary assists, two behind Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon. … With seven goals, Adam Boqvist is tied for sixth among NHL defensemen in tallies. … Boqvist is two games from 100 in his NHL career. … Max Domi is two goals from 100 and seven assists from 200 in his NHL career. … The Blue Jackets have trailed in 10 of their 15 wins this year and have an NHL-best five wins when trailing after two periods. … The team is also 10-5-1 at home. … Columbus is 7-1 in extra time this year (4-0 in overtime, 3-1 in shootouts). … Columbus is 1-1 against New Jersey this season, with a 4-3 shootout win on Halloween in the Prudential Center, but this is the first meeting of the season in Columbus. … The Blue Jackets have won five in a row against the Devils in Nationwide Arena. 

Projected Lineup 

(Subject to change) 

Patrik LaineBoone JennerGustav Nyquist

Jake Voracek – Jack RoslovicOliver Bjorkstrand

Yegor ChinakhovCole SillingerMax Domi

Eric RobinsonSean KuralyEmil Bemstrom

Zach Werenski – Jake Bean

Vladislav Gavrikov – Adam Boqvist

Dean KukanAndrew Peeke

Joonas Korpisalo

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratches: Gabriel Carlsson, Elvis Merzlikins (lower-body injury; day to day) 

Injured Reserve: Justin Danforth (left knee sprain; six weeks as of Dec. 31); Daniil Tarasov (lower body; out indefinitely as of Jan. 4) 

COVID-19 protocol: Gavin Bayreuther, Alexandre Texier 

Taxi squad: Liam Foudy 

Non-roster: Gregory Hofmann 

Roster Report: Werenski returns after missing two games in COVID protocol, going in for Jake Christiansen, the rookie who was returned to Cleveland after making his NHL debut Thursday. Larsen also said Merzlikins is continuing to progress from the injury that will keep him out for a third straight game. 

This Day in CBJ History 

Jan. 8, 2003: The Blue Jackets posted a 2-1 win at Minnesota to earn a victory in Doug MacLean’s first game as head coach. 

Jan. 8, 2004: Rick Nash scored a power-play goal at 4:57 of overtime to give Columbus a 3-2 win at San Jose.  

Jan. 8, 2006: Bryan Berard became the second defenseman in CBJ history to notch a hat trick, scoring three goals in a 5-2 win at Phoenix.  

Jan. 8, 2017: Nick Foligno’s overtime goal against Steve Mason at 2:33 gave Columbus a 2-1 win at Philadelphia. 

Jan. 8, 2018: Columbus won in overtime on this date for the second year in a row, as Artemi Panarin tallied at 3:11 to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 win at Toronto.  

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