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Cam Atkinson Back in Blue Jackets’ lineup, Set to Face Oilers

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Among the more disappointing clubs in the league, the Edmonton Oilers skate into Columbus for a clash with the Blue Jackets.

NHL: New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When the Columbus Blue Jackets meet the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night in Columbus, the Jackets will be getting back the services of winger Cam Atkinson following a healthy scratch Saturday night against Arizona.

And it sounds like a motivated Atkinson going forward.

"It's a wake-up call, and I take full responsibility. I know I need to be way better, and I will be." — Cam Atkinson following Monday's practice

The Oilers looked to capitalize on a playoff breakthrough in 2016-17, but struggles and injuries have plagued the club. Goaltender Cam Talbot has missed his last five games due to an upper-body injury, giving way to Laurent Brossoit.

Brossoit struggled initially, allowing 10 goals in consecutive starts Nov. 30 against Toronto, and Dec. 2, a win against the Flames. Over his last three games, he has steadily improved, allowing six goals, and was on the wrong end of a 1-0 loss Sunday in Toronto.

Connor McDavid has essentially been a one-man wrecking crew, leading his club in assists (24), goals (11), and points (35).

Turn the Power Play around?

Tuesday could be an opportunity for the Blue Jackets’ power play to get some chances. The Oilers are last in the league on the penalty kill (72.72%) and come in fifth in the league with the fifth-most penalty minutes (325). Columbus commits the second-fewest penalties (76 minors) and just 176 minutes.

While David Savard and Nick Foligno share in the penalty minutes lead for Columbus with 16, Edmonton has six players with at least 29 minutes in the box, and Milan Lucic leads with 49. The Oilers are top five in minutes per game (10:49).

It has gotten to the point where you just expect the line of Artemi Panarin-Pierre-Luc Dubois-Josh Anderson to provide the offensive spark. The Jackets are 10-3 since Nov. 11, tied for the most wins in that span.

Additional Notes

Sonny Milano is back in Cleveland following Saturday’s win. Columbus is on a five-game winning streak against Edmonton on home ice, and have taken the last three games overall. Since the Jackets moved to the Eastern Conference, they are 6-2 versus Edmonton.

Though Milan Lucic is famously notorious for being an agitator and engaging in the rough stuff, he is also finding the net (2 G, 3 A in previous four). If you play fantasy hockey, you might want to jump on Pierre-Luc Dubois (I did—2 G, 6 A in his last five). Also the other part of that line, Josh Anderson (4 G, 4 A in his last nine).

Remember Curtis McElhinney—duh, of course—he pitched the 1-0 shutout Sunday against these Oilers, stopping all 41 shots his way.

Per the BlueJackets official website:

The Oilers are among the top teams in the NHL in metrics for 5-on-5 puck-possession, shot differential and scoring chances, just like the Blue Jackets. Edmonton is second in shot-attempts percentage/Corsi (53.9%), first in unblocked shots-attempts percentage/Fenwick (54.4%), fifth in shots-for percentage (52.98%) and second in scoring chances-for (53.8%). Columbus is fourth in Corsi (52.7%), third in Fenwick (54.1%), second in shots-for (54.4%) and fifth in scoring chances (53.3%). The biggest difference is goals-for percentage, which measures 5-on-5 goals for and against. Columbus is fifth (55.6%, 64-51), while Edmonton is 20th (50.4%, 61-60).

So while Edmonton is not where you would expect in the standings, they do a lot of the little things right, and of course, you have to contend with Connor McDavid. Expect Sergei Bobrovsky in the net for Columbus, his fourth-straight start, and Laurent Brossoit for Edmonton.

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Blue Jackets - Oilers Game Notes

Projected Lineups

Edmonton Oilers
Milan Lucic Connor McDavid Jesse Puljujarvi
Patrick Maroon Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Michael Cammalleri
Jujhar Khaira Leon Draisaitl Ryan Strome
Drake Caggiula Mark Letestu Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse Kris Russell
Oscar Klefbom Matt Benning
Yohann Auvitu Brandon Davidson
Laurent Brossoit
Nick Ellis
Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Josh Anderson
Nick Foligno Alexander Wennberg Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Tyler Motte/Markus Hannikainen
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Scott Harrington Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo