Oilers-Blue Jackets Preview
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers have the two worst records in the Western Conference, so it's hardly surprising that their coaches were unhappy with the players' efforts in their last games.
Columbus (27-31-11) played without Nash, who has a team-high 57 points, and Huselius, third with 49, in a 5-1 home loss to St. Louis on Saturday. The Blue Jackets were outshot 26-11 through two periods as they trailed 3-0.
"We didn't do what we needed to do for 60 minutes," interim coach Claude Noel said. "The checking had to be a bigger part of our game. In the second, they stepped it up and it looked like we chased the pace. We gave them chances and they didn't miss them."
Edmonton coach Pat Quinn was saying essentially the same thing after his club fell 6-4 to the Maple Leafs in his return to Toronto on Saturday. The Oilers fell behind 5-1 in the second period, allowing three goals in a 1:26 span.
"It wasn't good enough for us for sure," Quinn said. "As it started to slip away, we probably lost a couple of more guys. A few guys played hard tonight, but not enough."
Nash missed the last three games with a lower-body injury and Huselius sat out three of the last four with an upper-body injury. Noel believes both may return Monday.
Nash has a team-high nine power-play goals and Huselius eight, and they were sorely missed against the Blues. Columbus went 0 for 6 with the man advantage.
"We weren't getting any shots," Noel said.
The Blue Jackets have not had many shots on goal overall in recent games, with 21 in a 2-1 win over Atlanta on Thursday and a season-low 11 in a 6-0 defeat at Los Angeles last Monday.
Edmonton (21-40-7) allowed an average of 35.0 shots in its last six games. Jeff Deslauriers was pulled after giving up five goals on 28 shots through two periods Saturday, with replacement Devan Dubnyk stopping 17 of 18.
"It's not the result we wanted," Deslauriers said. "Every time you go out there, you're always trying to win the game."
Dustin Penner had a goal and two assists and Andrew Cogliano had one of each for the Oilers, 0-3-1 in their last four road games.
Edmonton gave up three power-play goals - two on 5-on-3 advantages.
"We took way too many penalties," Penner said. "It kind of ruined the flow of the game so we were back on our heels most of the night."
The Blue Jackets scored four power-play goals and the Oilers five in the first three meetings this season. They split two matchups in Edmonton, and Columbus won 3-2 at home in a shootout Nov. 16.