Blue Jackets-Oilers Preview

Columbus has been competitive on its western Canadian swing, but

has little to show for it. A visit to Edmonton, however, could be

what the Blue Jackets need to end their trip on a positive


Looking to avoid a sixth straight road loss, the Blue Jackets go

for a fifth consecutive win over the Oilers on Thursday night.

Columbus (16-11-3) has dropped eight of 10 after dropping 3-2

overtime decisions to Calgary and Vancouver to open the three-game


“We’ve shown there’s a lot of heart on this team, and we’re

right there,” said rookie Tom Sestito, who tied the game with his

first career goal in the third period Wednesday against the

Canucks. “It’s close, and hopefully we start getting two


The Blue Jackets have been outscored 19-7 during an 0-3-2 road

stretch that has followed a five-game winning streak away from

home. Columbus, though, has won two of three at Edmonton, including

4-2 in its last visit Jan. 7.

Columbus, which beat the Oilers 3-2 in a shootout Oct. 28, has

scored 15 goals during its four-game winning streak over


Steve Mason made 25 saves against the Oilers earlier this season

and could be in net after sitting out Wednesday. Mason, 9-8-1 with

3.06 goals-against average, was pulled after allowing two goals on

four shots at Calgary but has a 1.62 GAA during a three-game

winning streak against the Oilers.

Kristian Huselius didn’t record a point against the Canucks

after missing 22 games with a high ankle sprain, but has four goals

and five assists in his last four against the Oilers.

Last in the Western Conference, Edmonton (11-14-5) looks to

avoid a third straight loss after being outscored 6-2 by Vancouver

and Toronto at home in its last two contests.

The Oilers have dropped three of four following a season-high

four-game winning streak.

“I think obviously people know there’s going to be ups and downs

to this year, but as a player, you can’t really accept that,”

defenseman Ryan Whitney told the Oilers’ official website. “Maybe

deep down you know there’s going to be times when we struggle, but

you’ve still got to strive for consistency and winning games.”

After going 4 for 10 on the power play in its previous three

games, the Oilers failed on all four of their chances with the man

advantage in a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Rookie Jordan Eberle scored his seventh goal and second in as

many games. He had an assist versus Columbus in October.

This year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Taylor Hall, has a

team-high 10 goals, but has been held without a point the last two

games. He scored his first career goal against the Blue


Nikolai Khabibulin could be in net after making 30 saves against

the Maple Leafs. The veteran has allowed seven goals on 75 shots

while splitting his last two starts, and given up nine tallies

while losing two of three versus Columbus.

Backup Devan Dubnyk stopped 39 shots at Columbus in October, but

is 0-2-1 with a 3.28 GAA against the Blue Jackets.