Blue Jackets in ideal position to keep wins coming
A favorable schedule could keep the Columbus Blue Jackets playing well, but it’s too little, too late.
The Blue Jackets go for their longest winning streak in three months Friday night when they face the lowly Edmonton Oilers for the first of two meetings in less than a week.
Columbus (29-34-4) reached the playoffs for only the second time last season and a return appearance is all but out of the question with 15 games left in the regular season. The Blue Jackets are 18 points behind Boston for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
They may find some solace in following a seven-game slide by winning three of four, including Thursday’s 3-1 victory over Detroit, a team on its way to the postseason.
"It was one of those games we should use as an example and move forward," said defenseman Fedor Tyutin, who scored his first goal in 21 games.
Columbus is trying to win three in a row for the first time since a season-high seven-game run in December, which remains it’s only stretch of more than two straight.
The Blue Jackets would seem to be in ideal position to keep this run going, facing Edmonton twice in a span of five days and hosting Carolina in between on Sunday.
Scott Hartnell has three goals in two games and five in five after scoring just once over the previous 10. The left wing has a goal in each of his last two meetings with the Oilers (18-39-11), but those came in 2013 with Philadelphia.
Ryan Johansen had two points in a 4-2 win over Edmonton on Nov. 29, 2013, giving him four in four career home meetings.
The Jackets have won seven of the past nine matchups at Nationwide Arena and the Oilers have allowed 26 non-shootout goals during a six-game skid as they try to salvage the finale of this five-game trip.
Edmonton nearly snapped the skid Thursday, overcoming a four-goal deficit before giving up two late scores in a 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh.
"We got better as the game went on," coach Todd Nelson said. "We battled back. We never quit, and against a team like that we can take something away from this game."
Jordan Eberle is doing his part, tallying two goals and four assists in three games. He has 20 points in his past 15 road contests.
Eberle has 13 points in 12 career games against the Blue Jackets, with five coming in six visits to Columbus.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has also found success in this series, scoring one goal and setting up 11 others during an eight-game point streak. The center enters this matchup with six points in three games after getting a pair of assists Thursday.