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Blue Jackets @ Oilers Game 71 Preview

It's a three-way tie tank for first worst.

This time it's for real.  Nikita NIkitin is back.
This time it's for real. Nikita NIkitin is back.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images



oilers logo black text
30-35-4, 69 points, .928 p/g Ranks 19-39-12, 48 points, .714 p/g
Eastern Conference - 13th Western Conference - 14th
25th P/G 29th
24th ST 27th
26th ES 28th
25th Goal 30th
Rexall Place
The opposing view: The Cannon

The Oilers scored four goals!  They didn't allow more than four goals!

The Oilers scored four goals in Monday's event against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game that saw them yield less than four goals!  Edmonton got a lot of help when Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier yielded three Oiler goals in four shots.  By that time, Edmonton had it sewn up for keeps.   Benoit Pouliot notched two goals, while Jordan Eberle and Anton Lander each had a power play goal.  The win gave Edmonton 19 on the year, which is pretty good if you've only played around 35 total games.  The Oilers have played twice that number, and are looking at drafting anywhere between 1 and 5 at this year's NHL Entry Draft in June.

The Oilers are saying

He's going tonight.  He feels good out there, so he's going in.  Aulie's out, he's gonna play with Ference tonight.

That's Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson on the long awaited return of top four defenceman Nikita Nikitin

Nikitin has been out of the lineup since late January with a shoulder injury, and that's made room for Keith Aulie on a number of nights.  Nikitin (who's under contract for one more year at a cap hit of 4.5M) will be paired with Andrew Ference tonight.  If I had to guess, they'll be the mid-pair,  but with everything being so visually better up in here, you just never know where they'll end up.  Nikitin is a better player than Keith Aulie, but his price point and for what he brings to the table will make him an album cut on any other playlist.

The Opponent is saying

"My line and (Ryan Johansen's) line, we did nothing.  The team relies on us six to be a big part of wins and we weren't there, especially for the first 40.  We were better in the third but it's a 60-minute hockey game"

The Oilers faced off against Columbus just five short days ago and went down two goals early.  Edmonton made it interesting and actually held the lead in the third period for a bit before getting pushed to overtime, and eventually the shootout.  Alexander Wennberg (of course) had the lone shootout tally for the Blue Jackets, and there's your game packaged up nice and neat.  Not only do the Oilers have Nikita Nikitin back in the lineup, they've got another player who's scheduled to make his NHL debut tonight.  More on that below.

Have some of this
  • Not only is Nail Yakupov scoring points at a pretty good clip (6-7-13 in his last 16), he's a pretty good guy too.  Check out Ken's write up on Nail Yakupov (along with Anton Lander and Oscar Klefbom) doing righteous in the Edmonton community.  Nail Yakupov for life.
  • If you had Andrew Miller in your pool of OKC call-ups who will make their NHL debut tonight, come collect your prize.  Miller has had a nice season in OKC (25-31-56 in 58 GP) and will likely fill in for Matt Fraser, who received a concussion on a blindside hit by Nazem Kadri in Monday's game. Nazem Kadri received a four game suspension on the play.
  • Ben Scrivens (13-22-9, .897 SV% / 2.96) will get the start for the Oilers tonight, while Sergei Bobrovsky 20-17-2, .913 SV% / 2.82) or Curtis McElhinny (10-14-2, .912 / 2.85) will get the nod for Columbus.  I've got my dollar on McElhinny tonight, as Columbus hits Vancouver tomorrow.


  • standings 18 mar 15

    Each team has twelve to go, and Buffalo plays Arizona two more times.  This is exciting for all the wrong reasons.