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Game 51 Preview: Oilers vs. Blue Jackets

Connor McDavid returns to the lineup after lengthy absence due to fractured clavicle

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Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports


Columbus

@

Edmonton
19-27-5, 43 points, .915 p/g Ranks 19-26-5, 43 points, 1.34 p/g
Metropolitan Division- 8th Pacific Division - 7th
30th P/G 29th
19th ST 21st
25th S/G 21st
30th Goal 27th
7 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific
Radio - 630 CHED
Rexall Place
The opposing view:  The Cannon

The Return

After a lengthy time off, Connor McDavid is scheduled to return to the lineup.  The young forward hasn't seen game time since suffering a clavicle injury very early in November. His return is not a moment too soon, as the Oilers have been shuffling the lineup quite a bit since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins went down with a hand injury not long ago. In 13 games, Connor McDavid has twelve points (5-7-12) and will no doubt help breathe new life into an Oilers club currently tied for last place in the league.

McDavid and the rest of the Oilers take on the visiting Blue Jackets at Rexall Place tonight.  For the sake of the Oilers,  I hope they're not on the short end of the stick tonight.

The Oilers are saying

"The car has been test-driven now for quite a while; it's ready to go out on the race track.  Who knows what happens after that, but it's been tested.  He's ready to go."

Source

That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on the return of Connor McDavid

My God, not a moment too soon.  It's been three dozen games since suffering a broken clavicle against Philadelphia in early November, and the Oilers are desperate for some points.  They're desperate for a couple more right handed defencemen as well, but let's deal with one thing at a time.  Connor McDavid is back, and it's an incredible site for sore eyes.

The opponents are saying

"It's not like I was missed or anything, it's just selfishly, for me, I want to be with the team.  It was frustrating because you're not there and you want to be there.  I would not have helped -- it would have been more of a distraction.  I'm just happy I'm back with the team now."   Source

That's Columbus coach John Tortorella on the mend.  Tortorella missed three games with broken ribs after tumbling to the ice in practice.

Have some of this

  • Yakupov on the third line again?  Urp.
  • The Oilers claimed defenceman Adam Clendening off of waivers last week.  Clendening had most recently spent time in Anaheim, but was drafted by Chicago.  He's also spent time in Pittsburgh as well as Vancouver, and I'm guessing he'll start to see some significant time on the right side in the not-too-distant future.
  • Connor freaking McDavid, you guys.  You guys, hey, you guys.  Connor McDavid.  Guys?
  • Cam Talbot (9-15-3, .915 SV% / 2.60 GAA / 1 SO) will likely get the start for Edmonton tonight, while your good buddy Joonas Korpisalo (5-5-2, 915 SV% / 2.74 GAA) will likely go for the Jackets.
  • PACIFIC WATCH / SHOOTING FOR SIXTH:  Oh God, the Oilers are going to need an amazing run of at least 20 wins in their last 32 games in order to make it interesting.  They're ten points out of third in the Pacific.  Start by winning one game at a time.
  • Andrew Ference (hip), Brandon Davidson (undisclosed),  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand)  and Oscar Klefbom (hand), are out for the Oilers.  For the Jackets, goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney are out along with forwards David Savard (neck) and David Clarkson (upper body).