GAME BLOG: Blue Jackets vs. Oilers
7:40 P.M. -- SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Two things remain constant from the first period, the score and the Blue Jackets carrying the play. Columbus out-shot Edmonton by a 12-4 margin in the second period and holds a 25-11 advantage overall, and it's not surprising considering most of this game has been played in Dubnyk's end of the ice. But the Oilers goaltender has been terrific, making a slew of key stops in the second period to keep the Blue Jackets off the board. The MO for the Blue Jackets has not changed: attack with speed, get the puck in deep and let the forecheck get to work. They've created turnovers, drawn penalties and put the pressure on the Oilers, and all that's left for them to do is light the lamp. There's one period left to go, and it probably doesn't need said, but this is an important one for the Blue Jackets. They've played a solid game from the back end out, and getting rewarded with some offense would be huge for their confidence.
6:45 P.M. -- FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: If you're looking from a purely statistical standpoint, the first period wasn't too shabby for the Blue Jackets. They trail where it counts by a 1-0 score on a weird goal from Ales Hemsky, who knows a thing or two about scoring against Columbus. James Wisniewski's outlet pass was picked off by Taylor Hall, who drove to the net and put a bouncing puck in on Sergei Bobrovsky. The rebound popped out to Hemsky, who buried it for a 1-0 lead at 13:58. Columbus had three power plays -- including a 5-on-3 for 22 seconds -- but could not get one past Devan Dubnyk. The home side has a 13-7 shots on goal advantage and has done well in possessing the puck in the offensive end, and if they're going to get on the board in the second period, continuing what they did in the first period would be a good start.
2:00 P.M. -- Hear James Wisniewski's candid thoughts on his injury last week, and what he went through during his recovery period. A great interview with "Wiz" on Jackets TV:
12:15 P.M. -- Oilers head coach Ralph Kreuger spoke with the media after their optional skate this morning at Nationwide Arena. Watch his comments in their entirety, courtesy of Oilers TV:
11:30 A.M. -- Assistant coach Dan Hinote sat down with Bob McElligott for the latest edition of our game day preview on Jackets TV. Check it out:
11:00 A.M. -- We caught up with Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert to talk about tonight's game, in which he will play on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno. Check out that conversation on Jackets TV:
10:30 A.M. -- The Oilers have eight players participating in an optional skate today at Nationwide Arena. They arrived in Columbus last night from Detroit after a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings, but on the bright side, plan to have at least one of their injured players return this afternoon. Eric Belanger, who has missed time due to a foot injury, is back in the lineup tonight and Chris VandeVelde has been assigned to Oklahoma cCity (AHL).
Here are the Oilers projected lines for tonight:
Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Yakupov - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Hartikainen - Belanger - Paajarvi
Eager - Smyth - Petrell
Smid - Potter
Schultz - Schultz
Fistric - Petry
10:05 A.M. -- Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard, who had been playing the point on the power play recently due to a number of injuries, is back on the wall today. Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin are one PP point unit, with Jack Johnson and James Wisniewksi comprising the other.
9:55 A.M. -- Here are the Blue Jackets line combinations in use today:
Prospal - Anisimov - Letestu
Calvert - Dubinsky - Foligno
Umberger - Brassard - Dorsett
Gillies - MacKenzie - Boll
Tyutin - Nikitin
Johnson - Wisniewski
Holden - Erixon
9:50 A.M. -- The morning skate is under way here at Nationwide Arena. All healthy players are present and accounted for, and the early news appears to be Sergei Bobrovsky starting between the pipes for Columbus. With back-to-back home games on tap, we could see Bobrovsky tonight and Steve Mason tomorrow against San Jose.
9:30 A.M. -- Good morning, Blue Jackets fans, and another happy game day to all of you and thanks for checking in with the game day blog. The morning skate is slated to start a bit normal than usual (probably around 9:45 a.m.) due to today's 6 p.m. puck drop at Nationwide Arena.
An important and should-be entertaining game on tap today, one would think. The Oilers dropped a 2-1 decision yesterday in Detroit, while the Blue Jackets are eager to make amends for a 4-3 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday. One of these teams is going to break out of a losing streak today; the Oilers have lost five straight, and the Blue Jackets have dropped back-to-back contests after beating the Red Wings last weekend.
We're expecting Devan Dubnyk to start in net for Edmonton today, and we should get word soon regarding the Blue Jackets' starting netminder. Stay tuned to the blog for all the latest, as we'll have more updates, photos, player/coach interviews and more throughout the day.
While we wait for practice to begin, let's watch the latest one-on-one segment with Blue Jackets TV voice Jeff Rimer as he sits down with Cam Atkinson: