Game 75 Preview: Ice May Be Slippery

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 17: Derick Brassard #16 of the Columbus Blue Jackets scores on goalie Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Edmonton Oilers during the second period of their game at Nationwide Arena on January 17, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets defeated the Oilers 4-2. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets

March 25, 2012 - 3:00pm EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Copper & Blue
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This game could very well decide the first overall pick. A win for the Oilers today would clinch 30th overall for the Jackets, while a Columbus victory delays the seemingly inevitable for one more day. On the one hand, this game seems like a tall order given the two blowout losses the team suffered in Rexall Place, but the club looked decent against this team back in January, and the clubs' performances over the last ten games (5-5-0 for Columbus, 5-2-3 for Edmonton) isn't so different.

So, as they say, there's a chance. Let's see what happens.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(24-43-7, 55 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Vinny Prospal Mark Letestu Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Cam Atkinson
Ryan Russell Ryan Johansen Derek Dorsett
Colton Gillies Darryl Boyce Jared Boll
Jack Johnson David Savard
Nikita Nikitin Brett Lebda
John Moore Aaron Johnson
Steve Mason
Allen York

Edmonton Oilers
(30-36-9, 69 Points; 5th Division, 14th Conference)

Ryan Jones Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Teemu Hartikainen Sam Gagner Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth Chris Vandle Velde Linus Omark
Ben Eager Eric Belanger Darcy Hordichuk
Ladislav Smid Jeff Petry
Ryan Whitney Nick Schultz
Theo Peckham Corey Potter
Devan Dubnyk
Nikolai Khabibulin

Season Series

12/2/11 - CBJ 3 @ EDM 6

1/17/12 - EDM 2 @ CBJ 4

3/14/12 - CBJ 0 @ EDM 3

3/25/12 - EDM @ CBJ

Head to Head

Edmonton
Columbus
2.60 (16th) GPG 2.27 (28th)
2.84 (23rd) GAPG 3.14 (29th)
21.2% (2nd) PP% 15.1% (25th)
81.8% (18th) PK% 76.4% (30th)
Jordan Eberle, 32 G Leader Rick Nash, 25
Jordan Eberle, 39 A Leader Vinny Prospal, 34
Jordan Eberle, 71 PTS Leader Rick Nash, 48
Ben Eager, 94 PIM Leader Derek Dorsett, 196
12-23-4 Road/Home 14-20-3
3/23 vs. Florida, W 2-1 (SO) Last Game 3/25 v. Carolina, W 5-1
5-2-3 Last 10 5-5-0

Game Notes:

  • Hall Pass - While you hate to see a player like Taylor Hall out with a concussion, he has been one of the reasons the Oilers have burned the Jackets so often over the last several years. His absence from the lineup is an opportunity to even the ice a bit.
  • Finish The Game - With the exception of a 6-3 trouncing of the Predators, the Oil has not been scoring particularly well on this road trip, and three of their last four games ended in a shootout. If the Jackets can repeat Friday's performance of denying the high percentage areas of the ice and aggressively battling for the puck, I think it would go a long way towards a victory.
  • Here and Now - You can't think about two weeks from now. You can't think about the draft odds. You can't think about the trail of bodies that mark the path of this season. There's this game, there's this team, there's this chance for a win. Pull on your wellies and get to work.

Evening the series against Edmonton isn't much, but it'd be nice. There's precious few "splits" or outright wins this season as it is. It's an afternoon game, so make yourself a late lunch, pour yourself a cold one, and let's give it a go.

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