Our wounds may never heal,
and our grieving may never cease.
This rebuilding disease is incurable,
but we must bear it.
The team we once loved is gone,
and those entrusted to rebuild it are like a cancer.
Even our children are being sent away,
and we'll never see them again.
Our leaders have lost their senses!
They have forsaken God's wisdom,
and the result is complete and utter failure,
so that even the fans are beginning to scatter.
Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Visiting Team Scouting Report: Sergei Bobrovsky is having another fine season for the Blue Jackets and Curtis McElhinney has been far better than they had any right to expect in his limited ice time too. Together, they've given the team a cumulative .928 even strength save percentage and .884 shorthanded save percentage, both of which are better than league average. The problem? That's not an improvement on last season (.930 at EV and .877 on the PK), and the Blue Jackets didn't improve enough in other areas to pull them from also-ran into playoff contender, even with their move to the weaker Eastern Conference. Scoring has been a problem, which is something of a self-inflicted wound given that Vinny Prospal, the team's leading scorer last year, was practically begging to return only to get pushed aside in favor of the still-injured-and-yet-to-debut Nathan Horton.
Edmonton Oilers (5-15-2):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Yakupov - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth - Gordon - Perron
Gazdic - Acton - Jones
Ference - Petry
Belov - Larsen
Schultz - Potter
Columbus Blue Jackets (7-10-3):
Foligno - Johansen - Umberger
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
MacKenzie - Letestu - Comeau
Chaput - Anisimov - Boll
Johnson - Tyutin
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Savard
By The Numbers:
- Devan Dubnyk has been getting much better results over his last several games, but that bad start certainly was a monster. Dubnyk remains 28th out of 28 goaltenders with at least ten starts in even strength save percentage with an .883 so far in 2013-14. Evgeni Nabokov is in 27th, and he's more than twenty points ahead at .905.
- Ryan Johansen is having something of a breakout season. His thirteen points in twenty games is already one more than he managed in forty last year. Some of that is better luck with the percentages, but Johansen has also been a better possession player this year, registering a five-on-five Corsi percentage of 51.5%, which compares very favorably to the abysmal 44.3% the Jackets managed with him on the ice last year.
- I know that Ryan Smyth isn't what he was in his 20s, but I'm still hoping the Oilers bring him back to play on the fourth line next year, in part because, if they do, he has a chance to pass Kevin Lowe as the team's all-time leader in regular season games played. Lowe's record stands at 1,037 and Smyth is currently sitting on 914 heading into tonight's game. (In other games played news, Andrew Cogliano has now played 481 consecutive games. Impressive.)