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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets vs. Oilers

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

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WATCH: Second period highlights from tonight's game...

WATCH: Here's the highlight of Jack Skille's siiiiick second-period goal.

SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Wait...this team has second period struggles? You wouldn't know it by that 20 minutes of hockey, which was as close to dominant as you'll see from the Blue Jackets. Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno scored power play goals for the Jackets in the middle frame, and Jack Skille scored a beautiful goal off the rush to push the Columbus lead to 4-0 through two periods at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets out-shot the Oilers by a 16-8 margin in the second period and made the most of their chances...and at the other end of the rink, they dodged a couple of bullets but drew the Oilers into penalties along the way. 

Jack Skille ripped home his second goal of the year to make it 4-0 Columbus --> SKILLE

Here's the highlight of Foligno's power play goal.

FOLIGNOOOOO! Nick Foligno's sixth goal of the season - also a power play tally - staked the Jackets to a 3-0 lead --> FOLIGNO

Artem Anisimov's power play gives the Jackets a 2-0 lead!

ARTY PARTY! Anisimov's seventh of the season makes it 2-0 Jackets --> ANISIMOV 

Check out first period highlights from Jackets-Oilers! --> HIGHLIGHTS

FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: This first period was far different than what the Blue Jackets put forth two nights ago right here at Nationwide Arena. They controlled the majority of the first 20 minutes and got the lead goal - Ryan Johansen's team-leading ninth of the season that came off a great play on the forecheck by Matt Calvert. Calvert pounced on a loose puck, sent it behind the net to Cam Atkinson, and Johansen corralled it at the side of the net. He went high short-side on Ilya Bryzgalov to stake the Jackets to a 1-0 lead at 7:50, and it was a nice-looking goal you can watch below. On the other side of the puck, the Blue Jackets were good in the neutral zone and didn't gift the Oilers any chances, something they'll be keying in on the rest of the way.

WATCH: Here's the video highlight of Johansen's ninth goal of the campaign.

LISTEN: Ryan Johansen's team-leading ninth goal of the season gives the Jackets a 1-0 first-period lead! Hear the call --> JOHANSEN

WATCH: Jody Shelley and Bob McElligott bring you today's edition of the Rink Report!

WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addresses the media prior to tonight's game.

WATCH: Blake Comeau talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game vs. the Oilers.

WATCH: Corey Tropp goes one-on-one with Bob McElligott and talked about making his Blue Jackets debut tonight.

UPDATE (12:15 PM): Todd Richards held his pre-game meeting with the media this morning. Listen to his comments here --> RICHARDS

UPDATE (11:45 AM):
Corey Tropp's pre-game comments before his first game as a Blue Jacket --> TROPP

UPDATE (11:25 AM):
The Oilers just announced that Ilya Bryzgalov will be their starting goaltender tonight.

UPDATE (11:15 AM):
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards just met with the media following the morning skate. Here's a brief summary of his comments...

- Richards said the Blue Jackets have to really commit to their game tonight against the speedy Oilers. They need to be hard on the forecheck and make Edmonton play in its own zone.

- Any motivation/this is a team you'd like to see again only 10 days later? Richards said he certainly thinks that's the case, but he's anxious to see how his team responds tonight.

- Corey Tropp brings "competitiveness, grit, upside" according to Richards and the team didn't bring him in solely to be a stop-gap kind of player. 

- No final decision yet on Savard for tonight, Richards said. They'll know more closer to game time.

UPDATE (11:00 AM):
David Savard was the last defenseman off the ice today and it looks like he will be the healthy scratch on the blue line. 

If that's the case, here are the pairs...

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Wisniewski
Nikitin - Prout

UPDATE (10:45 AM):
Corey Tropp held his first media scrum this morning as a member of the Blue Jackets, and he talked about being thankful for the opportunity given to him by the Jackets, what he brings to the table, and more. 

For tonight's game, Tropp will start on a line with Michael Chaput at center and Jack Skille on the right wing. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said yesterday that he has liked Tropp since the 2007 NHL Draft, and is a big fan of his grit, competitiveness and thinks there's more to give from the former third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres.

UPDATE (10:20 AM):
Brandon Dubinsky is on the ice for the morning skate, but it doesn't look like he will play tonight against Edmonton. When he's ready to play, the Blue Jackets will need to activate him off injured reserve.

Here's your chance to catch tonight's game from the cozy confines of the CBJ Social Station. Answer the trivia question below, and reply to us at @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJSocial with your answer!

Q: Ryan Johansen was selected No. 4 overall at the 2010 NHL Draft...which Edmonton Oiler went No. 1 in that draft?

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in goal for the Blue Jackets tonight.

UPDATE (10:10 AM):
Here's what the Blue Jackets' lines look like this morning...

Foligno - Johansen - Jenner
Calvert - Anisimov - Atkinson
Umberger - Letestu - Comeau
Tropp - Chaput - Skille

UPDATE (10:05 AM):
Newcomer Corey Tropp, acquired on waivers yesterday from Buffalo, is skating on left wing with Michael Chaput and Jack Skille this morning. 

UPDATE (10:00 AM):
The Blue Jackets are on the ice for their morning skate. Nikita Nikitin appears to be back in the lineup tonight, as he's taking a regular shift so far in practice.

The Blue Jackets are scheduled to take their morning skate around 10 a.m. local time at Nationwide Arena on Friday morning. The Oilers, who will arrive overnight from Nashville, are not likely to hold a formal morning skate upon arrival in Columbus. This is the first of back-to-back games for the Blue Jackets, who will depart after Friday's contest for Boston, where they'll take on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for the second time this season.

As always, we'll have live coverage of the Blue Jackets' morning skate, including photos, pre-game interviews, a chat with coach Todd Richards, and news on the official lineup. Stay tuned to Game Day Central for the latest!

Todd Richards said earlier this week that he wasn't sure when some of the team's injured forwards would be ready to return to action. After the team's Thanksgiving Day practice at Nationwide Arena (which included the addition of Corey Tropp via waivers), Richards said he did not expect any of the injured forwards to be ready for Friday's game, but Nikita Nikitin may be able to return.

Dubinsky, MacKenzie and Boll remain on IR and both MacKenzie and Boll aren't eligible to return until Saturday's game at the earliest (NHL rules mandate that any player on IR must miss no less than one week of action from the date of placement), meaning the lineup used Wednesday is going to be a solid template for what we may see on Friday when the Oilers come to town.

The six-man rotation on defense could change, but Richards really liked the way his team defended when Tyutin-Johnson, Murray-Wisniewski and Prout-Savard were the pairings. Tim Erixon remains with the Blue Jackets as the seventh defenseman and is a solid insurance policy if a change is made (either by necessity or by coach's choice) on Friday. Between the pipes, Richards said it's a possibility that the Jackets split duty between Bobrovsky and McElhinney with the weekend back-to-back.

Not much needs to be said prior to this game. The Blue Jackets should not be short on motivation for their second and final meeting of the season with the Edmonton Oilers, given what happened in their previous match-up. With the addition of a new face in Corey Tropp and some renewed energy after the Thanksgiving holiday, the Blue Jackets will be seeking a much better start than they had Wednesday night against Nashville.

The Blue Jackets arrived at Rexall Place in Edmonton (10 days ago) fresh off a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators to kick off their five-game Canadian road trip. All of the momentum they had built with the victory in Ottawa evaporated by the time the first period was over in Edmonton; the Oilers were flying from the start and the Blue Jackets didn't help themselves en route to a 3-0 deficit after 20 minutes and a 7-0 loss in the game. 

You can bet that the start will be a point of emphasis this morning and in the hours leading up to what should only be considered a very important game for the Blue Jackets. They have a home-friendly schedule in the months of December and January and if they're going to climb back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, the time is ripe to start piling up some wins and points. They will also be looking for the team that took the ice at Air Canada Centre on Monday, which happened to be the complete opposite of the team that lost 4-0 to the Predators two nights ago.

And though the Oilers haven't been a great match-up for the Blue Jackets in recent years, it's to the point where the opposition need not matter as much. The Blue Jackets have played "their style" of hockey on a hit-or-miss basis and they can't afford many more misses like they've had in three of their last six games. 



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