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Oilers @ Jackets: Forces Collide

Oilers in Columbus to face Jackets club that hasn't lost since November

Bobrovsky:  Just about perfect this year.
Bobrovsky: Just about perfect this year.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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19-12-7, 45 points, .946 p/g- Ranks 26-5-4, 56 points, 1.697 p/g
Pacific Division - 3rd Metropolitan Division - 1st
11th Points / Game 1st
10th Special Teams 9th
6th Shots on Goal 12th
10th Goal 3rd
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
Nationwide Arena

The opposing view

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Leon Draisaitl
Benoit Pouliot -  Drake Caggiula - Jesse Puljujarvi
Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian


Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Brandon Davidson - Matthew Benning


Cam Talbot
Jonas Gustavsson

The Jacob Markstrom Goaltending Clinic

Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom turned aside 42 Oiler shots (plus three in the shootout) to secure a 3-2 shootout victory for Vancouver.

Alex Burrows scored his seventh goal of the season six minutes into the second period to put Vancouver up 1-0. Drake Caggiula would score his second of the season six minutes after Burrows to bring the Oilers even at 1-all. Sven Baertschi would put the Canucks up 2-1 when he scored his eighth of the year just five minutes into the third period.  The Oilers would go on the power play late in regulation, when Connor McDavid would score his fourteenth of the year to help send the Oilers to overtime.  The Oilers would not score in overtime, and Vancouver's Bo Horvat would put the game away for the Canucks in the shootout.

The Oilers sit in third place as of this writing.  To get two points tonight, they've just got to beat the hottest team in the NHL.  Columbus hasn't lost since November, and that's quite a long time.  Can the Oilers solve the Jackets?

Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

That's Oilers defenceman Andrej Sekera on getting back into the lineup after being out with "an illness".

Edmonton's best defenceman in 2016-17 has been out the last two games.  He'll no doubt be a big add to the lineup tonight pairing with Kris Russell.

The opponents are saying

That's Blue Jackets' rookie defender Zach Werenski on playing against tougher talent.

Werenski has turned heads in his rookie season.  In 35 career games, he's exploded with 24 points (6-81-24) while pulling over 21 minutes of ice on average per night.

Have some of this

  • LINE SWITCH: Andej Sekera being back in the lineup is just about the best news one could ask for.  Sekera has been head and shoulders the best defenceman for the Oilers this year, and Edmonton will need everything they've got on the blue line tonight if they're going to have a chance against Columbus.
  • CALL UP - Defenceman Jordan Oesterle was shipped back to Bakersfield, while Anton Lander was recalled.  Lander has impressed in Bakersfield, scoring 21 points (10-11-21) in 13 games.  Is this the time he makes it for good?
  • The Oilers have shown improvement this season, there's no doubt.  They're currently holding third in the Pacific, which is good for a lot of things come April. very good this year.  They've got at least a point in 30 of their 35 games played (they've got only 4 OTL), and they haven't lost since November.  All things come to pass, and nothing lasts forever, but when your starting goalie wins NHL player of the month for November going 12-0-0 and a .933 SV%, things are probably going OK for your club.
  • Connor McDavid scored his fourteenth goal of the year in Edmonton's 3-2 shootout loss against Vancouver.  He's tied for the league lead in points with Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins (43).  Decent company to be with, I suppose.
  • Cam Talbot should probably take a siesta will likely go again tonight for the Oilers (18-10-6, .919 SV% / 2.45 GAA / 3 SO). Sergei Bobrovsky will go for the Blue Jackets tonight (24-5-2, .934 SV% / 1.95 GAA / 3 SO)
  • Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Tyler Pitlick (knee), and Darnell Nurse (lower body) will be out for the Oilers. Columbus will be without forward David Clarkson, who is out indefinitely.