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.
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|
(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|
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
- 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.