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Game #74: The squeaky wheel needs some oil

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It’s a metaphor for this team being annoying in how they don’t work properly

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 9:00 EST
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Copper and Blue

Columbus Blue Jackets (40-29-4, 84 points, 5th Metro, 8th East)

at

Edmonton Oilers (32-34-7, 71 points, 6th Pacific, 13th East)

There are fewer than 10 games remaining in the season, and the Blue Jackets are still struggling to find their groove. They cling to a one point lead over Montreal for the final playoff spot. There are several important games to follow before ours tonight, with the Canadiens hosting the Islanders, the Hurricanes hosting the Lightning, and the Penguins visiting the Predators. Let’s root for the Islanders, Lightning, and Predators to all win in regulation.

Player to Watch

Mikko Koskinen

The Finnish netminder returned to the NHL this season after a seven year absence and took the starting job from the subsequently-traded Cam Talbot. His .908 save percentage and 2.89 GAA were enough to convince GM Peter Chiarelli to give him a three year contract extension with a $4.5M AAV and 15 team no-trade clause.

Chiarelli was fired the next day.

The Jackets have struggled mightly to score since the trade deadline and tonight’s as good as any to snap out of it.

Jackets Notes

Yesterday, the team signed goalie Elvis Merzlikins to a one year entry level contract. He cannot play for the Cleveland Monsters, but the ELC will expire at the end of the season and he will become a restricted free agent. He is expected to compete for the starting job next season assuming Sergei Bobrovsky departs ... The Jackets have won both of their games at Rogers Place so far.

The Other Bench

The Oilers have lost four of their last six, including Tuesday against St. Louis. The Copper and Blue recap ends with the line “Blues win 7-2, and I am ready for the season to end.” so that tells you how fans in Edmonton feel right now ... Their top players are still lethal, as we learned at the start of the month. Beyond Draisaitl, McDavid, and Nugent-Hopkins, only two other players have double digit goals. Columbus has nine players in double digits, which includes Anthony Duclair but not 20 goal scorers Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel ... There’s one Edmonton making the playoffs, at least. The Oil Kings won the Central Division of the WHL thanks to an 11 game win streak to end the season. The Oil Kings are led by Columbus draftee Trey Fix-Wolansky, who signed his ELC last week.

Season Series

03/02/2019 EDM 4 @ CBJ 0
03/21/2019 CBJ @ EDM

Stats

Edmonton Columbus
2.78 (20) GPG 3.03 (12)
3.31 (26) GAPG 2.92 (12)
20.9% (11) PP% 15.3% (27)
75.3% (30) PK% 84.7% (3)
47.86% (25) EV Corsi % 50.04% (13)
98.9 (27) EV PDO 99.9 (15)
Leon Draisaitl, 43 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 38
Connor McDavid, 69 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 51
Connor McDavid, 105 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 76
Zack Kassian, 91 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 60
16-17-2 Home / Road 20-13-2
6-4-0 Last 10 4-5-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Ryan Dzingel Matt Duchene Josh Anderson
Lukas Sedlak Boone Jenner Riley Nash
Alexander Wennberg Brandon Dubinsky Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Hott Scarrington Adam McQuaid
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl Connor McDavid Zack Kassian
Jujhar Khaira Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Sam Gagner
Joseph Gambardella Colby Cave Alex Chiasson
Milan Lucic Kyle Brodziak Ty Rattie
Oscar Klefbom Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse Kris Russell
Andrej Sekera Matt Benning
Mikko Koskinen
Anthony Stolarz