Oilers-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Edmonton Oilers (8-8-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (5-11-0).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Edmonton Oilers look to continue their dominance of the Columbus Blue Jackets when the teams square off at Nationwide Arena.
The Oilers are 12-2-3 all-time against the Blue Jackets, who joined the NHL in the 2000-01 season.
That record includes a current 11-game unbeaten streak, with eight wins and three ties since Columbus' last win in the series on Nov. 2, 2001. Edmonton has scored no fewer than three goals in any game during that run, its longest active unbeaten streak against any opponent.
Left wing Ryan Smyth has played a big role in the Oilers' success against the Blue Jackets, registering nine goals and nine assists in 16 games.
These teams met for the first time this season on Nov. 1 in Edmonton, and the Oilers won 5-1 behind two goals from Ales Hemsky and 23 saves by Jussi Markkanen.
The game saw Edmonton center Michael Peca suffer a mild concussion on a hit by Columbus' Rick Nash. Peca has missed all four games since that incident and is listed as day-to-day.
Since the victory, the Oilers have been on a season-high seven-game road trip, posting a 2-2-0 mark.
Edmonton lost 3-2 to Nashville on Tuesday, when the Predators scored two goals in the final 1:55. The game-winner was a controversial goal with 22.5 seconds left by Scott Hartnell, who caught a pass with his right glove to knock the puck down and shot it past Markkanen.
"He gloved it, put it down in front of him and knocked it in," Oilers left winger Ryan Smyth said. "It looked like he took two or three strides with it."
The Blue Jackets are coming off a 3-1 victory over league-worst St. Louis on Wednesday, snapping a four-game losing streak. David Vyborny scored two goals, Manny Malhotra and Nikolai Zherdev each had two assists, and Marc Denis made 24 saves.
"I was focused on my game and tried to bring it up," Vyborny said. "Nikolai is a great player and Manny Malhotra played great. We had a hard time on the road, and we had to come in here and get two points. We have some more games at home and we need to get those points."
Vyborny leads the Blue Jackets with six goals this season and is the team's top all-time scorer against the Oilers, with seven goals and five assists in 17 games. No other active Columbus player has more than five points against Edmonton.
On Thursday, the Blue Jackets placed defenseman Rostislav Klesla on injured reserve after he suffered a broken hand against St. Louis. He is expected to be sidelined for six weeks.
Klesla is joined on the injured list by Nash, the team's 2003-04 leading scorer who sprained his knee on Nov. 3 and is out indefinitely.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 10): Oilers - 17 points, 5th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division. Blue Jackets - 10 points, 4th place, 19 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Raffi Torres, 9 goals; Hemsky, 12 assists and 15 points; Ethan Moreau, 41 PIM. Blue Jackets - Vyborny, 6 goals; Bryan Berard, 9 assists and 12 points; Jody Shelley, 33 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 10): Oilers - Power play: 17.5 percent (19 for 108), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (88 for 108), 17th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 10.1 percent (10 for 99), 30th. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (100 for 119), 9th.
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Markkanen (7-7-1, 0 SO, 2.86 GAA); Mike Morrison (0-0-0, 0, 0.00). Blue Jackets - Denis (2-8-0, 0, 3.69); Martin Prusek (2-1-0, 0, 2.10).
SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 1; Oilers, 5-1. At Edmonton, Alberta, Smyth and Hemsky scored power-play goals, and Chris Pronger had two assists.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 5-6-0 on the road; Blue Jackets - 4-3-0 at home.