Game 26 Preview: Now Let's See How Well You Handle It

Columbus Blue Jackets at Edmonton Oilers

December 2, 2011 - 9:30pm EST
Rexall Place - Edmonton, Alberta
Radio - WBNS FM 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: The Copper & Blue

Unfortunately for Matt, I'm pinch-hitting this preview due to some prior engagements he had this morning, and I'm wired on caffeine and thinking of Spaceballs. And after last night's completely unexpected win, for me the biggest thing going into this game is this: yeah, you managed to steal a win last night. You probably didn't deserve it, since your Captain admitted post game that you probably only played 20 good minutes.

He also said it was "a big lift." Is it? What, then, are you going to do with this win? I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let's see how well you handle it.

The Oilers are riding a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) and, ironically, coming off a shootout loss from Wednesday night to Minnesota. And, for some super-irony, Rick Nash's shootout winner last night was his first since... a game against Edmonton, last October.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(7-15-3, 17 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Vinny Prospal Jeff Carter Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger Mark Letestu Ryan Johansen
Antoine Vermette Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Cody Bass Derek MacKenzie Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot James Wisniewski
John Moore Grant Clitsome

Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

Edmonton Oilers
(13-9-1, 27 Points; 2nd Division, 9th Conference)

Ryan Smyth Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Sam Gagner Shawn Horcoff Ales Hemsky
Magnus Paajarvi Eric Belanger Ryan Jones
Darcy Hordichuk Ryan O’Marra Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid Tom Gilbert
Theo Peckham Andy Sutton
Ryan Whitney Jeff Petry
Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk

Season Series

12/02/11 - Blue Jackets at Oilers
01/17/12 - Oilers at Blue Jackets
03/14/12 - Blue Jackets at Oilers
03/25/12 - Oilers at Blue Jackets

By The Numbers

CBJ - 2.32 G/G (t24th)
EDM - 2.64 G/G (t17th)

CBJ - 3.16 GA/G (t25th)
EDM - 2.40 GA/G (11th)

Power Play
CBJ - 12.6% (24th)
EDM - 21.0% (4th)

Penalty Kill
CBJ - 75.9% (29th)
EDM - 84.9% (9th)

Game Notes:

  • D-FENCE - The Jackets' defense has been streaky of late, and they're back to getting punished for their mistakes. They're not making as many as they were early in the season, but two big mistakes last night led to Flames' goals. James Wisniewski looks tired, to my eyes. Nikita Nikitin, for as good as he was last night, was dreadful on Monday in The Couve. Perhaps if their seventh defenseman wasn't Aaron Johnson (hint, hint) they all wouldn't have to play so many crazy minutes.
  • Road Warriors - The Jackets, after losing their first seven on the road, have points in four of their last five road games (2-1-2). Edmonton has not been kind to them over recent years, so just like back in Nashville a couple weeks ago, there's no time like the present to reassert yourself.
  • Lineup Notes - This lineup is prepared based on some early assumptions pre-morning-skate. Steve Mason is going to HAVE to get a start at some point (Marc Denis scoffs at this notion that you can't make 77 starts per year), and Curtis Sanford has more than earned a rest. That said, Mason probably still has nightmares of his last two trips to Edmonton, and it's hard not to ride the hot hand. Also, it will be interesting to see if Derick Brassard finds his way back into the lineup after the comments by his agent yesterday. The Dispatch has him in, but I've left him out simply because after shots like that fired across Arny's bow, I can't see him capitulating this quickly. Especially coming off a crazy win.
  • On The Other Hand... - I'm perversely looking forward to my first look at RNH, while also breathing a bit of a sigh of relief that we won't be seeing Taylor Hall. Derek Dorsett Avoidance? Let the conspiracy theories begin!

Seriously, if the Jackets can head back East with four points, you'd have to consider it a successful Western Canadian trip. Let's get it done, boys!

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