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.

The clubs conclude their season series Monday night as the Blue

Jackets hope to get Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius back in the

lineup.

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.