Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The second half of a back-to-back is another afternoon game, this time in Columbus
|4-4-3, 1.0 p/g
||3-6-2, 0.73 p/g|
|Western Conf: 11th||Western Conf: 15th|
4:00 p.m. MST | Sportsnet West
Top Story: This is a matchup of two teams on a terrible run - the Oilers have lost five in a row, Columbus is 1-4 in their last five. This is the Jackets' fifth home game in a row, though they last played on Thursday night. The Oilers have the worst even strength shooting percentage in the league and the misery should end soon. The Jackets have been sunk by even strength play - they're easily the worst team in the league at even strength. Everything lines up for an Oilers' breakout, but the team is playing the second of back-to-back afternoon road games - not an enviable situation, especially with their depth problems.
The Oilers are saying:
"I just might move the first couple of games. I don’t know if I want to take one off the foot for a couple of weeks."
The Opponent is saying:
"He started strong, but we think his play has tailed off. He looks like he's struggling offensively. This isn't all about getting points, it's about getting chances and making an impact offensive. I just think he's struggling confidence-wise offensively. We decided to send him down to find his game."
The decision to send Johansen down to Springfield is a bizarre one because Johansen wasn't one of the problems in Columbus through 10 games. He was a victim of bad luck, with 0 goals on 21 shots, and it's amazing how hockey people turn luck into narratives about "confidence", "toughness", "belief", and "chemistry".
Key matchup: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner in the faceoff circle with a man advantage against Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Mark Letestu. The Oilers can't get into the zone to set up the power play without taking three or four runs at it, so every faceoff loss costs the team about 45 seconds of power play time. Win a faceoff and allow the power play to set up.
Edmonton Oilers Injuries
Columbus Blue Jackets Injuries