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Game #79 Preview: Blue Jackets take on Oilers in a Sunday matinee matchup

It’s also Kids Takeover Day at Nationwide Arena

Columbus Blue Jackets v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Sunday, April 24, 2022 - 1:00pm ET
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Copper and Blue

Edmonton Oilers (46-26-6, 98 points, 2nd Pacific, 5th West)
at
Columbus Blue Jackets (35-36-7, 77 points, 6th Metro, 10th East)

Today’s game marks the last Western Conference opponent of the season, and it’s a doozy. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers come to town for a Sunday afternoon tilt against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Oilers are pretty much locked in their playoff position and don’t have a ton to play for, outside of some individual trophy chasing. For that reason, it will be interesting to see if the Blue Jackets can surprise Edmonton in what could very well be a let down game for the playoff bound Oil.

This is the second to last home game of the year and the last weekend game of the season, so hopefully we can expect a full house this afternoon to cheer on the Jackets before they hit the links this offseason. The Oilers have won the previous five matchups against the Jackets by a combined score of 21-5. I’ll be very impressed if they can scrap out a win tomorrow with such a depleted squad.

Player to Watch

Kent Johnson

I know he’s been picked recently by others as the player to watch, but really, how much else is there worth watching in these last few games? Johnson now has points in his last two games, assisting on a pair of goals including the only goal produced against Ottawa on Friday night. KJ is still in search of his first goal, and you’d like to see him put more shots on net considering he only has two shots on net in his first five games. Johnson did hit a post last game on a wicked backhander, so the first goal can’t get any closer. These games are such important lessons even if he is not producing, and will send him into the summer with a completely different mindset than if he didn’t get any professional games after his college season.

He’s going to be great, and is putting in the work already.

Jackets Notes

The Blue Jackets are limping toward the finish line... literally. They’ve played their last few games without their best offensive and defensive player and have performed admirably, but were ultimately unable to secure any wins. The Jackets will try to avoid a five game losing streak this afternoon, but it won’t be easy against a team with two of the best players in the world while missing their own star players. Thats right, both Zach Werenski and Patrik Laine have already been ruled out for today’s game.

Sadly, any wins from here on out will be a surprise seeing as they play the Penguins next and then wrap up the season with a home and home against the defending champs, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I’ve still been able to enjoy watching these games however. Partially because I like watching the young guys learning the ropes and dreaming of their future success, but mostly because I know how much I will miss hockey as we head into the offseason.

The Other Bench

The Oilers come into Nationwide having just secured their spot in the playoffs for the third straight season. They did so in impressive fashion, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 6-3, thanka to an Evander Kane hat trick. Their controversial trade deadline pick up, Kane has sparked the Oilers in the second half of the season and the team is heading into the playoffs with some confidence. Superstar Connor McDavid has some competition in the race for the Art Ross Trophy this year, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect a let down from Edmonton after their big win on Friday. Fellow megastar, Leon Draisaitl, is also trying to hunt down an award of his own. He’s currently second in the Rocket Richard race with 54 goals on the season, more than double the highest Blue Jacket’s goal total. He trails only Auston Matthews, who is attempting to become the first 60 goal scorer in the last ten years.

Is this the year the Oil finally make some real noise in the playoffs?

Season Series

12/16/21 CBJ 2 @ EDM 5
4/24/22 EDM @ CBJ

Stats

San Jose Columbus
3.47 (7) GPG 3.13 (14)
3.06 (15) GAPG 3.64 (29)
25.6 (4) PP% 17.7% (24)
79.3% (17) PK% 78.9% (20)
52.7 (7) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.6% (23)
51.8 (9) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 46.6% (24)
8.4 (17) 5v5 Shooting % 9.15 (6)
.915 (19) 5v5 Save % .908 (26)
Leon Draisatl, 54 G Leader Patrik Laine, 26
Connor McDavid, 73 A Leader Jakub Voracek, 51
Connor McDavid, 116 P Leader Patrik Laine, 56
Evander Kane, 56 PIM Leader Sean Kuraly, 61
20-14-5 Road / Home 19-15-5
8-1-1 Last 10 3-6-1

Projected Lines

Columbus Blue Jackets

Gus Nyquist Jack Roslovic Jake Voracek
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Kent Johnson Cole Sillinger Justin Danforth
Emil Bemstrom Brendan Gaunce Carson Meyer
Jake Bean Andrew Peeke
Nick Blankenburg Vladislav Gavrikov
Gavin Bayreuther Gabriel Carlsson
Elvis Merzlikins
J.F. Berube

Edmonton Oilers

Evander Kane Connor McDavid Kailer Yamamoto
Ryan McLeod Leon Draisatl Zach Hyman
Warren Foegele Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Derek Ryan
Kris Russel (wut?) Derick Brassard Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse Cody Ceci
Duncan Keith Evan Bouchard
Brett Kulak Tyson Barrie
Mike Smith
Mikko Koskinen

Let’s go Jackets!