Game Preview #21 - Striking Oil

Kirk Irwin

The Jackets head west to face the sad sack Oilers... who seem to always give the Jackets fits. Can Columbus keep building?

Columbus Blue Jackets at Edmonton Oilers

November 19, 2013 - 9:30pm EST
Rexall Place - Edmonton, Alberta
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: The Copper and Blue
SBN's Oilers vs Blue Jackets Coverage

First, some good news, though it has no direct bearing on tonight's game: Matt Calvert is close. He's with the team, he won't play tonight, but he will play this week. Possibly in Calgary, but most likely on Friday in Vancouver. ALSO, one Mr. Nathan Horton is practicing with the team on the trip. THIS IS A THING THAT HAS POSITIVE QUALITIES.

The Jackets have points in five straight (2-0-3), and are just three points out of third place in the Shitro Division. They will ice the same lineup with which they dispatched the Senators on Sunday, and they will ice it against a pretty, frankly, crappy Oiler team. Despite coming off a win against Calgary, the Oilers have just five wins on the season thus far: they're actually off to a WORSE start than the Jackets got off to last year.

With all of the offensive talent on the Oilers' roster, it's surprising how much they're struggling to score consistently. That was never the problem for this team in the past; the defense was always the Achilles heel. And, it is again: the Oilers are currently last in the entire NHL in goals-against with a 3.73 gaa. Let that number waft over you for a second.

Is it wafting?

[sniffffffffffffff]

Ahh, yes. This is what the Jackets need to cure what ails 'em. Coming off a four-goal performance against Ottawa, it might seem like the offense has turned a corner. But, three of those goals were on Power Plays, including a 5-on-3. So, we're still waiting to see that even strength offense. The Jackets only have 30 even strength goals in 20 games, which just isn't going to cut it. Thankfully, Edmonton has allowed 60 (!!!!) even strength goals (including 4-on-4) in 22 games. Oof, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

So, if the Jackets can play like they did on Sunday and generate chances, they should be able to get some even strength goals.

Edmonton is bad, people. They make eyes bleed. This is a game the Jackets simply HAVE to win if we're going to take them seriously.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(7-10-3, 17 Points; 7th division, 13th conference)

Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Blake Comeau
Michael Chaput Artem Anisimov Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Edmonton Oilers
(5-15-2, 12 Points; 7th Division, 14th Conference)

Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov Sam Gagner Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth Boyd Gordon David Perron
Luke Gazdic Mark Arcobello Jesse Joensuu
Andrew Ference Jeff Petry
Nick Schultz Justin Schultz
Anton Belov Philip Larsen
Devan Dubnyk
Ilya Bryzgalov

Season Series

11/19/13 - Columbus at Edmonton
11/29/13 - Edmonton at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Edmonton Columbus
2.36 (23) GPG 2.55 (18)
3.73 (30) GAPG 2.80 (21)
17.1% (19) PP% 19.7% (13)
81.7% (19) PK% 80.3% (21)
five tied, 5 G leader Ryan Johansen, 6
Jordan Eberle, 11 A leader James Wisniewski, 14
Jordan Eberle, 16 Pts leader James Wisniewski, 16
Luke Gazdic, 50 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 40
1-7-0 Home/Road 3-4-2
11/16 @ Calgary, W 4-2 Last Game 11/17 @ Ottawa, W 4-1
2-7-1 Last 10 2-5-3
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