(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets hope the addition of forward David Clarkson can help get their fading playoff chances on track as they host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday evening.
The Blue Jackets have lost four in a row to fall 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Their latest setback came to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, the same day the Jackets pulled off a stunning trade for Clarkson.
Columbus shipped injured forward Nathan Horton -- who may never be able to play again in the NHL due to a back injury -- to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Clarkson, who is in the second season of a seven-year contract signed with the club on July 5, 2013.
After scoring 30 goals in 80 games with the Devils in 2011-12 and another 14 in 48 games in 2012-13, Clarkson signed a big deal with the Leafs. However, he managed only five goals and 11 points in 60 games a season ago and had logged a mere 10 goals and five assists in 58 games this season.
"David Clarkson has been a 30-goal scorer in the NHL who will bring added character and leadership to our group and we believe he will be a valuable contributor to our team," said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
Clarkson should be able to debut today assuming there are no lingering immigration issues.
"I'm excited to come down there to Columbus and get a fresh start," Clarkson told BlueJackets.com. "When I heard it was Columbus, I thought about it and I decided it was somewhere I wanted to be. The way they play the game and the way they compete, it was something I wanted to be part of. It's a fresh start, like I said, and an opportunity that I'm really looking forward to."
The Blue Jackets hope to avoid posting their longest losing streak since an 0-5-1 skid from Nov. 18-29 after falling to the Canadiens 5-2. Brandon Dubinsky and Marko Dano had the goals, while Curtis McElhinney yielded four goals -- three in the first period -- on 26 shots.
"I think I could have been a lot better in the first period for this team," McElhinney said.
Dubinsky, meanwhile, was injured as he collided with Montreal's Tom Gilbert following the goal and landed hard on his left shoulder, neck and head. He did not play the rest of the game and is questionable for this game as he practiced on Friday before leaving the session early.
Columbus also placed forward Matt Calvert on injured reserve Friday with a concussion, but could see the return of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky today pending his status following a morning skate.
Bobrovsky has not played since Jan. 21 due to a groin injury.
Though the Blue Jackets have won their past two home meetings with the Devils, they have lost seven of the previous 10 encounters overall.
The Devils aim to avoid a third loss in a row this evening as they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Boston Bruins on Friday night. Boston's Ryan Spooner scored to finish off a 4-on-2 rush with 2:14 left in the extra session.
Travis Zajac and Jordin Tootoo scored third-period goals for the Devils, who have dropped their past two on the heels of a four-game winning streak. Cory Schneider stopped 31 shots in the loss.
"I thought we played really well in the second half of the game," said Schneider. "It was tough to lose this one in overtime."
New Jersey played its first game without forward Jaromir Jagr, who the team traded to Florida on Thursday for a pair of draft picks. The Devils are nine points behind the Bruins for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.