Blue Jackets-Oilers Preview

The Edmonton Oilers have been punchless during a six-game home

losing streak, but the Columbus Blue Jackets have always had

trouble at Rexall Place.

The Oilers have taken their last five home meetings against the

Blue Jackets heading into Tuesday night’s matchup between

struggling teams.

Edmonton (5-15-2) will try to avoid its first seven-game home

losing streak since an 0-6-1 slide Nov. 25-Dec. 28, 2009. The

Oilers, who have been outscored 23-3 in this skid, are 18-4-1

all-time at home against Columbus (7-10-3), which has been

outscored 25-12 in its last five defeats at Rexall.

Both teams enter with some confidence following rare wins.

The Oilers ended a five-game slide Saturday with a 4-2 victory

at Calgary as four players scored in the third period to rally the

club from a two-goal deficit.

“It gives you a spark, it gives the individuals some confidence

scoring goals, making some plays offensively,” coach Dallas Eakins

said.

Columbus ended a three-game losing streak in which every defeat

went past regulation with Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Ottawa that

opened a five-game Canadian trip.

“We didn’t let ourselves get down even though we were in some

tight games, we didn’t get the full two points we wanted but we

kept getting points,” defenseman Jack Johnson said. “Tonight was a

nice break for us, we finally got a chance to play with the lead

too.”

The Blue Jackets went 3 for 5 on the power play. R.J. Umberger

scored his team-best third power-play goal with the other two

coming from unlikely sources. Fedor Tyutin scored his first in 75

games after Ryan Johansen tallied his first in 98.

“You’re looking for a spark somewhere, offense somewhere, it can

start on your power play,” said coach Todd Richards, whose club is

without injured stars Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton.

Richards also singled out the play of center Boone Jenner, who

returned from a nine-game absence due to a leg injury. The Blue

Jackets have won four straight with Jenner available.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for Columbus. If he starts, he

won’t be up against his former Philadelphia teammate, Ilya

Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov went through his first practice with Edmonton on

Monday, but Eakins will start Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk owns one of the

worst goals-against averages in the NHL at 3.54, but that figure

has dropped to 2.03 over his last three games.

“Devan has played well and we’re going to keep him rolling,”

Eakins said.

Ales Hemsky ended an 11-game goal drought Saturday for Edmonton,

which was outshot 12-4 through one period before slowly

improving.

“I didn’t think we had turned any corner in the first period, we

seemed under siege,” Eakins said. “In the second period I think we

played much better, didn’t quite get rewarded. In the third period

we found ourselves.”

Hemsky’s 38 points against Columbus are the most of any Edmonton

skater in history.

The Oilers went 2-0-1 against the Blue Jackets last season

behind Sam Gagner’s six points.