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COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (11-8-4) at
EDMONTON OILERS (9-13-1)
Start Time: 7:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Edmonton/Columbus Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics The Edmonton Oilers wrap up a six-game homestand tonight in their first meeting of the 2007-08 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus – under the guidance of new general manager Scott Howson – has had a strong start to the season but with the improvement across the board in the Central Division, they’re still having trouble making any moves up the standings.
The Blue Jackets are 11-8-4 and are part of a three-team logjam for second place in the Central Division. The Blue Jackets recently had a stretch of games in which they saw some decline after a 7-3-1 October. Through the first 10 games of November, the Jackets were 2-5-3 but rebounded this past Friday and Saturday with back-to-back wins at Minnesota (4-0) and at home versus Detroit (3-2 in shootout).
On Saturday night, the Oilers let a 2-1 third period lead slip away but rebounded to prevail in the shootout, defeating Chicago 3-2. LAST GAME: Oilers 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO) The Oilers right now are seven points out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference but a giant logjam has playoff seeds three through eight all tied with 26 points apiece. Columbus is in the mix with those teams right now.
Last season, Edmonton won three of four games against Columbus with the only loss coming at Rexall Place last December 2 by a 4-0 score.
Just The Facts...
Gagner still contributing in his rookie season - Sam Gagner has been used in many situations and has played everywhere from the first to the fourth line in his rookie campaign. But tonight he will get a new look, playing on the left side with Horcoff and Hemsky for the first time this season. ...more News Updates The Answers
Pre-Game Video... Allan Rourke draws back into the lineup tonight. He talks about getting that second opportunity. 700K Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff & Craig MacTavish talk about the addition of Gagner to the top line of Horcoff and Hemsky. 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. Columbus: Shawn Horcoff
Pre-Game vs. Columbus: Sam Gagner
Pre-Game vs. Columbus: Allan Rourke
Pre-Game vs. Columbus: Craig MacTavish
Pre-Game vs. Columbus (Listen to all: Horcoff, Gagner, Rourke and MacTavish) . Sunday's Video: Craig MacTavish talks to media on Sunday following practice. 700K Mathieu Roy talks about his injury status on Sunday. 700K Sunday's Audio: Nov 25 - Off-Day: Craig MacTavish
Nov 25 - Off Day: Denis Grebeshkov
Nov 25 - Mathieu Roy Injury Update
The Other Side Blue Jackets Weekly Report - The Columbus Blue Jackets are on one of their two trips to Western Canada this week, with games at Edmonton (Monday), at Vancouver (Thursday), and at Calgary (Saturday). Check out this week's information by reading ...more Item of the Game Each game, a different item is featured at The Oilers Store at Rexall Place.
Tonight's item is a Bevel T-Shirt (regular $24.99, now $12.49).
From the Fans
Click here to read tonight's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
New Oilers Player Wallpaper Available! - You can now download the following players: Cogliano, Gagner, Greene, Hemsky, Horcoff, Moreau, Nilsson, Penner, Pitkanen, Roloson, Sanderson, Souray, Stoll, Tarnstrom and Torres with more coming soon! ...more Tickets for Troops Online Auction - Auction closes on Wednesday, November 28th at 9:00 p.m. MST. Proceeds from the Tickets For Troops Online Auction will go to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and the Garrison Edmonton Military Family Resource Centre. ...more Marc Ciampa
edmontonoilers.com From the Wire
Facing the best teams in the league doesn't seem to be a problem for the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's the struggling ones that still give them trouble.
After beating division leaders in each of their last two games, the Blue Jackets hope to avoid a letdown when they start a three-game road trip on Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Blue Jackets lost three of four to the Oilers last season with the lone win being a 4-0 shutout on Dec. 2 in Edmonton. Columbus is just 3-8-0 with one tie all-time at Rexall Place.
Columbus (11-8-4) defeated Central Division-leading Detroit 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday to move six points back of the Red Wings. The win came a day after the Blue Jackets beat Northwest leader Minnesota 4-0.
"For some reason, playing teams higher up in the standings brings out the best in us," said Manny Malhotra, who scored his fourth goal on Saturday. "It really shouldn't be that way. Our intensity level and our effort shouldn't be predicated on who we're playing."
Columbus - 4-5-2 on the road this season - hopes not to overlook Edmonton, which is last in the Northwest with 19 points.
Goaltender Pascal Leclaire made 23 saves on Saturday after stopping 32 shots in Friday's win over the Wild for his league-leading sixth shutout. In his only career start against the Oilers, Leclaire made 25 saves in a 4-1 home loss on Nov. 10, 2006.
Both Nikolai Zherdev and Rick Nash will try to extend season-high point streaks. Zherdev has two goals and five assists during his five-game run while Nash has a six-game streak during which he's posted five goals and five assists.
Nash, the Blue Jackets' leading scorer with 16 goals and 27 points, has failed to register a point in his last five visits to Edmonton.
The Oilers (9-13-1), who will wrap up a season-high six-game homestand, are coming off a 3-2 shootout win over Chicago on Saturday. Rookie Sam Gagner scored the winning goal for Edmonton, which has won both of its games on the homestand in shootouts.
"We obviously have some pretty good confidence going in the shootouts," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose teams leads the NHL with six shootout wins. "Thankfully, we have that aspect of our game going."
Not much else has gone right for Edmonton, though. The Oilers are averaging just 2.3 goals per game, and converting a league-low 11.2 percent of their power-play opportunities.
Edmonton did get a solid outing from Dwayne Roloson against the Blackhawks, after backup Mathieu Garon had started the last three games. Having posted a 3.65 goals-against average in losing each of his last five starts, Roloson made 38 saves against the Blackhawks for his first win since Oct. 25.
Roloson went 2-1-0 with a 1.50 GAA and one shutout against the Blue Jackets last season, and is 5-6-2 with a 2.00 GAA and two shutouts against them in his career. Garon, who is 3-2-0 with a 2.34 GAA since Nov. 10, is 4-1-1 with one tie, one shutout and a 2.43 GAA lifetime against Columbus.
Ales Hemsky scored in his second straight game on Saturday, giving him seven this season. Hemsky has a goal and five assists in his last four games against the Blue Jackets.