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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Oilers need a win tonight to avoid going 0-6 on homestand

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Vancouver Canucks
Elvis is everywhere
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (16-11-0), 4th, Pacific

Columbus Blue Jackets (14-12-1), 5th, Metro

16 December 2021

Rogers Place

7 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet Oilers, Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Jackets Cannon

IT’S NOW SIX

Auston Matthews had two goals and Toronto’s Jack Campbell turned aside 35 shots as the Maple Leafs picked up a 5-1 win over the Oilers on Tuesday night. Colton Sceviour was the lone goal scorer for Edmonton as the Oilers are searching for answers. Edmonton has scored just nine times in their last six games, they’ll look to pull the ship back on track with a visit from Columbus tonight. Can the Oilers keep this streak from reaching seven?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

We have to keep playing simple and keep pounding on that rock, that rock’s going to chip. It didn’t happen tonight, but we have to keep going.

Source

That’s Oilers forward Warren Foegele after Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Leafs.

There are a couple of problems with the Oilers right now, and they’re all rearing their ugly heads. The power play isn’t 50% any longer, the goaltending isn’t great, and the Oilers just got a bottom six goal for the first time in what seems like years on Tuesday. All of that’s not great!

The Oilers have scored nine goals in six games, and that includes 3 goals in Seattle on December 3rd. One goal isn’t going to pay the rent.

THE BLUE JACKETS ARE SAYING

“We didn’t play for two periods...I’m not sure what happened, why we stopped playing. You knew they were going to be better. It wasn’t like that was a big surprise, but we just didn’t have the jam for two periods. We hung on and hung on and hung on, but we didn’t deserve to win.”

Source

That’s Blue Jackets’ head coach Brad Larsen after giving up the lead in their 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

The Jackets have scored 19 goals in their last five games, they’ve surrendered 19 goals as well (2-2-1). Tonight’s a great opportunity for the Oilers to get back on track against a club that ranks 25th in the league in goals allowed per game.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • We likely find out today how bad the injury is to Zach Hyman’s shoulder. Hyman took a big hit from Carolina’s Brady Skjei on Saturday night. Hyman missed Tuesday’s debacle against the Maple Leafs, we’ll see exactly how “day-to-day” he is shortly.
  • Glen Gulutzan is filling in for Dave Tippett after Tippett entered Covid protocol. He’ll no doubt want to forget the Leafs game, but I appreciate him splitting McDavid and Draisaitl and putting Puljujärvi back in the top six. I don’t know if that was a decision made prior to Gulutzan getting the green light on Tuesday, but handcuffing yourself to one line is bad business when your hockey club already has two that don’t perform on a regular basis.
  • Goaltender Mike Smith is close to making his return, and he might be in sooner than later.
  • Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the Jackets in scoring with 23 points (9-14-23) in 27 games, look for the top line of Bjorkstrand - Boone Jenner - Gregory Hoffman to try and disrupt the Oilers tonight.
  • The Jackets have been without Patrik Laine for the last six weeks due to an oblique strain. He’s also dealt with the untimely passing of his father. Laine rejoined the team in Vancouver on Monday, he has since been removed from IR on the NHL’s website. It’d be a giant injection of offence for the Jackets if he’s on the ice tonight.
  • The Jackets don’t do any one thing really well, and they don’t do any one thing really poorly. They score almost as many goals as they allow per game, they’re 15th on the power play and they’re 17th on the PK. What’s it mean? They’re 14-12-1. Perfectly average.
  • Elvis Merzlikins (11-6-1, .913 SV% / 2.94 GAA / 1 SO) is a solid play for Columbus tonight, Joonas Korpisalo (3-4-0, .885 SV% / 3.95 GAA) could be an option if the Jackets want to get funky.
  • Congratulations are in order to Colton Sceviour for getting his first goal of the season. It’s also refreshing to see the bottom six contribute. I know the B6 isn’t going to score a goal a game, but it’s a much needed relief especially when your top six is struggling.
  • The Oilers are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture if they lose tonight. A loss tonight paired with a Sharks win will put them on the outside looking in. Will the goals come tonight?