November 01, 2014

The New Jersey Devils' faint playoff hopes took another hit when they couldn't solve their recent woes against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Devils, though, will get another chance to break the Blue Jackets' dominance in the series Sunday while extending Columbus' road losing streak.

New Jersey's deficit in the Eastern Conference playoff race can be attributed in part to its performance against the lowly Blue Jackets. The Devils suffered their sixth consecutive loss to Columbus when they gave up three goals in the third period Saturday.

"The good thing about hockey is you play a lot of games," said New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri, who had two goals and an assist. "We're fortunate we have them (Sunday) in our own building. It's time to get some redemption and salvage something from the series this season."

New Jersey rallied from an early 3-0 deficit but Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his first two NHL goals to lead Columbus to a 6-3 win.

"I was just trying to play hard and get pucks to the net. I was lucky to get a good bounce in the third period," said Bjorkstrand, who was playing his second game. "I've got to rest up and get ready for (Sunday)."

With Detroit's 5-3 victory against Florida, New Jersey (34-31-7) fell eight points behind the Red Wings for the East's final playoff spot with 10 games remaining.

"It's more the challenge of trying to beat (the Blue Jackets), that's the focus right now," Devils coach John Hynes said. "I don't necessarily believe in bad matchups. We have to do a better job collectively to beat them."

The Blue Jackets (29-34-8) snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday and scored a combined three goals in those games. They have scored two goals in a string of three consecutive road defeats and will seek to end that by earning their fourth straight win in New Jersey.

Columbus has collected two of those victories this season, giving up one goal in each. Its four overall wins in this season's series are its most, topping its three in 2013-14.

With Sergei Bobrovsky starting Saturday, the Blue Jackets will likely send out Joonas Korpisalo in their attempt to send the Devils to their sixth loss in eight home games.

Korpisalo stopped 25 shots in his only matchup against the Devils on Feb. 25, a 6-1 rout in Columbus. Nick Foligno registered his second career hat trick in that game but has not scored one in nine subsequent contests.

Foligno has six goals and five assists in his last 11 matchups with the Devils. Matt Calvert has six points in his past three and scored the deciding goal in Columbus' most recent visit to New Jersey, a 2-1 victory Nov. 25.

With Cory Schneider still likely out because of his ailing knee, it's unclear if Yann Danis or Keith Kinkaid will get the task of trying again to stop the Blue Jackets.

Danis replaced Kinkaid in the second period Saturday but hasn't started an NHL game since March 18, 2010, during his first stint with the Devils.

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