NHL

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 - 7:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Oilers-Blue Jackets Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers both seem destined to finish in last place again.

These lowly clubs have three meetings left this season - the first Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena - that may only serve to help determine the NHL draft order.

Columbus (12-27-5) owns the NHL's worst record as it nears a third straight finish at the bottom of the Central Division, while Edmonton (17-23-4) is likely headed for a third straight season in last in the Northwest.

The Blue Jackets fired coach Scott Arniel on Jan. 9, and have lost two of three since Todd Richards took over. Columbus is looking to the future, with ice time going to youngsters like Ryan Johansen, John Moore and David Savard.

"We're taking baby steps, and that's what it's going to take," goaltender Curtis Sanford said. "We have young guys in the lineup that need to learn how to play with consistency."

The Oilers have stumbled since an 8-2-2 start and they're playing without leading scorers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Those injured standouts have combined for 78 points and are expected to be out until the All-Star break.

Edmonton is also missing defensemen Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney and Cam Barker.

Second-year winger Taylor Hall has been forced to pick up his production, and he's done so with nine points in his last nine games.

"I guess if you just look at the last couple of weeks, the one player that has just answered the bell every night would be Taylor," coach Tom Renney said. "He is all of that. If you want to know what passion looks like in a hockey player, just watch Taylor."

Hall scored the winning goal on the power play in Sunday's 2-1 overtime home victory over Los Angeles as the Oilers ended an 0-4-1 stretch.

"Overtime goals are pretty special and something that you never forget, and definitely a confidence booster," Hall said.

Edmonton's 21.8 percentage on the power play is one of the NHL's best marks. That could be a big advantage since Columbus' penalty-kill unit is the worst in the Western Conference at 76.7 percent.

Hall was out with a left shoulder injury for the first matchup between these teams, the Oilers' 6-3 home win Dec. 2. Ryan Jones had his first career hat trick as Edmonton scored five third-period goals.

The home team has won the last six meetings between these clubs, but Hall should have pleasant memories of Nationwide Arena, where he scored his first NHL goal in a 3-2 shootout loss Oct. 28, 2010.

The Blue Jackets - playing without key contributors James Wisniewski, Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger - have split the first two games of their four-game homestand, winning 4-3 over Phoenix on Friday and falling 2-1 to San Jose the next night.

"We showed a lot of resolve and a lot of character late," Sanford said. "That's a trait that we're going to have to have moving forward."

Sanford has started all three games under Richards, and he's 6-3-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average in 10 career starts against the Oilers.

Tagged: Oilers, Blue Jackets, Curtis Sanford, Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Ryan Jones, Taylor Hall, Ryan Johansen

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt