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GAME: Edmonton Oilers (32-22-9) at Columbus Blue Jackets (25-36-2).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Edmonton Oilers didn't get an immediate payoff on their first trade-deadline deal. Maybe their second such move can provide one.
Two nights after newcomer Dwayne Roloson lost his first game in net for Edmonton, Sergei Samsonov hopes to enjoy a better debut with the Oilers when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Roloson got the start in his first game in an Edmonton uniform and lost 5-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, one day after he was acquired from the Minnesota Wild. The former All-Star goaltender stopped 26 shots in the opener of the Oilers' four-game road trip, but the defense lapsed in front of him several times.
"He was one of the only solid guys out there," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said of Roloson. "We were sloppy, to say the least. We needed a tennis racket to keep the puck in play. It was a game of ping-pong."
Samsonov wasn't in uniform for the Oilers, having been picked up in a trade with Boston earlier in the day.
The left winger had 18 goals and 19 assists in 55 games with the Bruins this season. An eight-year veteran who had spent his entire career with Boston, Samsonov had 70-point seasons in both 2000-01 and 2001-02.
He could provide a lift to an Edmonton team which has lost six of eight, scoring more than three goals only once in that span.
"Any time there's a player available with Sergei's skill, you love it when your team grabs him up," Oilers captain Jason Smith said. "He's going to score a lot of goals for us. I loved it when I heard we were able to get him, instead of another team in the chase."
Edmonton holds the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference, but is only three points ahead of ninth-place Anaheim. The Oilers' current road trip ends with games in Minnesota, one of their pursuers for the eighth spot, on Sunday and Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets are out of the playoff picture and didn't make any moves at Thursday's trade deadline.
They did, however, break out of a scoring drought to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4 on Thursday night. Columbus had lost five of its previous six games, scoring just seven goals.
"We came back around," said forward Rick Nash, who had a goal and an assist in the win. "We really had lots of chances. Maybe we could have had more than five. But we did play strong."
Blue Jackets leading goal scorer Nikolai Zherdev had one of the five, giving him four goals in the last four games. He has one of just three non-shootout goals Columbus has scored in three matchups with Edmonton this season.
STANDINGS: Oilers - 73 points, 4th place, 6 PB, Northwest Division. Blue Jackets - 52 points, 3rd place, 37 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 29 goals; Ales Hemsky, 46 assists; Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff, 62 points; Jason Smith, 72 PIM. Blue Jackets - Zherdev, 23 goals; David Vyborny, 30 assists and 46 points; Jody Shelley, 120 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 17.7 percent (70 for 395), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83 percent (312 for 376), 12th (tied). Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.6 percent (52 for 357), 29th. Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (337 for 415), 20th (tied).
SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 2; Blue Jackets, 2-1 (SO). At Columbus, Ohio, both teams scored late in the third period to force overtime. The Blue Jackets prevailed in eight rounds of shootout action when Jason Chimera scored against Markkanen.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 17-10-4 on the road; Blue Jackets - 16-14-0 at home.
|Mar 11 '06||EDM 3 at CBJ 4 - OT|
|Feb 02 '06||CBJ 2 at EDM 1 - SO|
|Nov 11 '05||EDM 3 at CBJ 1|
|Nov 01 '05||CBJ 1 at EDM 5|