The Oilers meet up with the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight for the first of two meetings between the former conference rivals. The sides will meet in Columbus next Friday night. The Oilers have enjoyed a lot of success against the Blue Jackets in recent memory. The Oilers took two of three meetings last season and have a 29-10-8 record against the team.
New Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov joined the team on Sunday, but will not start tonight for the club. Devan Dubnyk, who has been awesome as of late, will get the start. Sergei Bobrovsky will oppose him. Bobrovsky has given up five goals only once in his last 42 games, and that one game was the Jackets last trip to Edmonton.
Oilers defender Justin Schultz has recovered from his rib injury and will return to the line-up tonight. Defender Philip Larsen did not practice on Monday and is not going to play tonight.
The Oil also sent defender Oscar Klefbom to the AHL and recalled forward Mark Arcobello, who is not expected to play tonight.
Edmonton: The Oilers were in Calgary on Saturday night in what turned out to be a wild game. The Oil were thoroughly out-played by the Flames in the first, but Devan Dubnyk kept the team in the game. Sean Monahan scored at 12:23 to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Dennis Wideman would blast a shot off the post and into the back of the net late to give the Flames a 2-0 lead. Dubnyk was once again solid in the period.
In the third, Oilers forward Jordan Eberle would finally find the back of the net on a beautiful shot that beat Reto Berra. Ales Hemsky would bang in a goal to tie things at two, and moments later David Perron would slip in a goal from a bad angle to make it 3-2 Edmonton. Boyd Gordon would add an empty netter to seal the comeback, snapping a lengthy Edmonton losing streak.
Columbus: The Jackets snapped a losing skid on Sunday afternoon in Ottawa, turning in a dominate performance over the disappointing Sens. Ryan Johansen scored a nice PPG goal just under five minutes in to give the Jackets a lead, one they wouldn’t lose.
In the second RJ Umberger would scored a PP goal of his own, while Fedor Tyutin would blast a goal home eight minutes later on the PP, an area where the Jackets dominated on Sunday.
In the third the Jackets would go up by four on a Derek MacKenzie shot, while the Sens would get a PP goal from Erik Karlsson. Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves in the win.
The Oilers and Jackets last met on March 28th of last season, in what was a wild game between the sides. Cam Atkinson fired a shot past Nikolai Khabibulin just ten seconds into the game, while Matt Calvert would make it 2-0 just under 12 minutes later. Magnus Paajarvi would get one back for Edmonton moments later, sending it into the break at 2-1.
The Oilers would score early this time, just 39 seconds in as Jordan Eberle tied the game on a beautiful play set up by Taylor Hall. Artem Anisimov would put the Jackets back on top in in the final two minutes, but the Oilers would tie things back up under a minute later on a Shawn Horcoff goal set up by an unreal play by Nail Yakupov.
The Jackets took the lead 27 seconds in the third on a Cam Atkinson shot that beat new Oiler goalie Devan Dubnyk. Corey Potter’s blast tied things up under three minutes later, and from there Edmonton would take over. Dubnyk made a major save, which was followed about 20 seconds later by a beautiful goal off the stick of Ales Hemsky. Sam Gagner added an empty netter and Edmonton would win 6-4.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Defender Justin Schultz has missed the last few games due to a rib injury, but returns tonight. The Oilers are looking to play a more puck-possession game and Schultz would have to be a major part of that for it to work. I know it’s only his first game back tonight, but I think the Oilers are going to let Schultz do his thing, and I’m expecting a good performance.
Columbus: The Jackets bring a roster filled with good, but not great players. Tonight Oilers fans should watch defender Ryan Murray, the man taken one pick behind Nail Yakupov in 2012. Murray nearly was Edmonton’s pick, and many believe the scouts wanted him to go number one. Murray has four points and a positive plus/minus through 20 games, and is worth keeping an eye on tonight.
Edmonton Oilers Lineup:
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov – Sam Gagner – Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth – Boyd Gordon – David Perron
Jesse Joensuu – Will Acton – Luke Gazdic
Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
Andrew Ference – Jeff Petry
Nick Schultz – Corey Potter
Columbus Blue Jackets Lineup:
Brandon Dubinsky – Ryan Johansen – Cam Atkinson
RJ Umberger – Artem Anisimov – Marian Gaborik
Derek MacKenzie – Mark Letestu – Blake Comeau
Nick Foligno – Michael Chaput – Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin – Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray – James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin – Tim Erixon