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Minus Foligno, Blue Jackets Begin Western Canadian Swing

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Minus captain Nick Foligno, the Columbus Blue Jackets march forward into Edmonton to battle the Oilers.

Edmonton Oilers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets start the three-game swing of their Western Canadian trip against the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night. The Jackets enter play 11-3 since the trade deadline, tied for the best mark in the league, and still in the thick of the Metropolitan. Edmonton is closing out the final games of a disappointing regular season but comes in with points in their last four games (3-0-1) and are 11-6-2 in their past 19.

Their 10-game win streak ended Saturday at the hands of the St. Louis Blues but they also lost captain Nick Foligno, who will miss 2-4 weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury. Alex Broadhurst, who leads the Cleveland Monsters with 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) has been recalled to take his place.

In the first meeting between the Jackets and Oilers Dec. 12 in Nationwide, the Jackets suffered one of their worst-defeats, a 7-2 loss to the Oilers. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had one goal, three assists in that game and enters play as one of the Hart Memorial favorites for league MVP.

The Reigning First Star of the Week with 10 points (five goals, five assists) McDavid leads the NHL with 99 points, is tied-for-sixth with 39 goals, and fourth with 60 assists. He leads all players in scoring since Feb. 1.

“Special” Teams

The Jackets enter the matchup just eclipsing Edmonton on special teams, however, both penalty killing units have been much better lately:

Power Play

Columbus: 15.3%, 30th
16.7% past 20 games (8-for-48), 23rd

Edmonton: 14.5%, 31st
13.3% past 20 games (6-for-45), 28th

Penalty Kill

Columbus: 77.7%, 24th
84.6% past 20 games (44-for-52), 7th

Edmonton: 75.2%, 29th
89.3% past 20 games (50-for-56), 3rd

While Artemi Panarin is coming off just his third game this month without a point, he has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 13 March games. Cam Atkinson has five points in four-straight (three goals, two assists) 13 for the month (seven goals, six assists). Pierre-Luc Dubois practice between Panarin and Atkinson Monday and looks to reclaim that spot Tuesday night with Foligno out.

Reunion

Mark Letestu (nine goals, 12 assists) makes his return to the Alberta province.

After spending time with the Oilers from 2015-2018, he was traded to Nashville and then Columbus in the Feb. 25 same day trade right before the deadline. With the Oilers, he skated in 220 games, putting up 79 points (34 goals, 45 assists) in his tenure.

In the 14 games since with the Jackets, he has one goal — scored in his first game back against the Capitals Feb. 26 — and one assist.

Ian Cole will play in his 400th career game Tuesday.

Sergei Bobrovsky (34-22-5, .922 SV%, 2.37 GAA) has been rolling of late, (7-2-0, .932, 2.13, in March). Cam Talbot (29-27-3, .909, 2.98 GAA) is also playing well, (7-3-1, .930, 2.44, in March).

Neither starter has been announced as of yet.

Oilers backup Al Montoya (4-3-2, .899, 3.42) has not played since Mar. 18 and was scratched before Sunday’s game due to injury, a game he was slated to start. Laurent Brossoit was called up as the emergency recall. Joonas Korpisalo (8-7-0, .902, 3.23) has won three-straight games, his last start coming Mar. 19 against the Bruins.

Faceoff

Projected Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Boone Jenner Alexander Wennberg Thomas Vanek
Sonny Milano Brandon Dubinsky Oliver Bjorkstrand
Markus Hannikainen Mark Letestu Matt Calvert
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Ian Cole David Savard
Ryan Murray Markus Nutivaara
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Connor McDavid Ty Rattie
Drake Caggiula Leon Draisaitl Pontus Aberg
Milan Lucic Ryan Strome Jesse Puljujarvi
Anton Slepyshev Jujhar Khaira Iiro Pakarinen
Darnell Nurse Adam Larsson
Kris Russell Andrej Sekera
Ethan Bear Matt Benning
Cam Talbot
Al Montoya