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Blue Jackets seeking consistency against Oilers

by Jon Lane

OILERS (8-16-2) vs. BLUE JACKETS (9-13-3)


Last 10: Edmonton 4-6-0; Columbus 4-3-3

Season series: This is the second of two meetings between the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets. David Perron's career-high four-point game led the Oilers to a 7-0 win against the Blue Jackets on Nov. 19 at Rexall Place.

Big story: The Blue Jackets' inconsistent season continued with a 4-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. Columbus has alternated wins and losses for six games, and though coach Todd Richards finds it hard to put a finger on the reason behind the inconsistency, the Blue Jackets are still a bit weary following a 3-2-0 road trip through Canada.

"You can't say we're not trying," defenseman James Wisniewski said. "It was just one of those games where we just didn't have it. We were practically on a 15-day road trip. We were on the road [in Washington and Boston], came home for 24 hours, and then went right back out for 10 days.

"Right now, we're a little banged up. We'll spend some time with the family and maybe it will rejuvenate us, and we'll get back at it Friday."

The Oilers come to Nationwide Arena after a 3-0 road win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Oilers: All eyes in Edmonton were on Ilya Bryzgalov and his first start since the Oilers signed him Nov. 8. Bryzgalov stopped all 33 shots in what was his first NHL start since April 25 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Check marks across the board for him. He did a great job," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said after the game. "There were never any nerves. Start to finish, everybody played well... it was a textbook game for us."

The performance earned Bryzgalov another start against the Blue Jackets.

Blue Jackets: Columbus' offense endured a brownout Wednesday in Nashville, failing to reach double figures in shots until 90 seconds were left in the second period. This from a team that enjoyed a 6-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

"They did a good job blocking shots, keeping us away from the net," forward Mark Letestu said. "But we've got to find a way to get the forwards to find another level and create more offense.

"We're not concerned about the amount of shots, but maybe the quality of opportunities wasn't what we wanted."

Who's hot: Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has six assists in his past four games. David Perron has six points in his past five games, Justin Schultz has three in his past four and Taylor Hall seven in his past five. ... Ryan Johansen was held off the scoresheet against the Predators, but sparked the Blue Jackets against the Maple Leafs with two goals and an assist. Wisniewski contributed with two assists and a plus-3 in that game.

Injury report: The Blue Jackets are without forwards Nathan Horton (shoulder surgery), Cody Bass (broken thumb), Marian Gaborik (sprained knee), Jared Boll (bruised foot) and Brandon Dubinsky (bruised foot). Defenseman Nikita Nikitin (lower body) is questionable ... The Oilers are missing forward Tyler Pitlick (sprained left knee), goalie Richard Bachman (strained groin) and defenseman Philip Larsen (back).

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