After spending the better part of the past seven weeks on the road, the Blue Jackets are returning to Columbus to open a five-game homestand. This should be good news, but the Blue Jackets haven't won at home in those seven weeks.
Columbus looks to avoid setting a franchise record by losing a seventh straight home game when it wraps up its season series with the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
With a 3-2 victory over Vancouver on Jan. 15, the Blue Jackets (30-28-10) picked up a franchise-record sixth consecutive home win. Columbus outscored opponents 21-10 during that run, moving into a tie with Anaheim for the fourth-best home record in the league at 16-6-4.
Since that win over the Canucks, the Blue Jackets have only played six of 22 games at Nationwide Arena - and they've lost them all.
|The Blue Jackets finally make a return to Columbus tonight for a five-game homestand. They will look to avoid dropping a franchise-record seventh consecutive loss at home when they host the Edmonton Oilers. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Columbus has been outscored 26-12 during that skid, matching the longest home losing streak in team history with a 4-2 loss to San Jose on Feb. 27.
In their last home game against the Oilers on Dec. 31, the Blue Jackets won 4-2 behind three goals from Rick Nash. That's one of only three victories for Columbus in 13 home games all-time against Edmonton (31-31-5).
After falling to the Oilers 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday, the Blue Jackets lost 1-0 to Calgary on Tuesday for their third loss in four games.
Columbus again failed to convert on the power play, going 0-for-6, and is scoreless in 27 chances with the man advantage over its last eight games.
"Our power play was not good enough tonight, especially on the 5-on-3," Nash said. "We didn't even get one really great scoring chance and that's unacceptable."
The Blue Jackets are among the league's worst teams on the power play with a 15.6-percent success rate, failing to score on any such opportunity since Feb. 15 at Detroit.
The Oilers, meanwhile, are one of the best penalty-killing teams in the league at 85.3 percent, and have killed all eight of their opponents' power-play chances in the last three games.
Nash, who leads the Blue Jackets with 35 goals and 56 points, is one point away from matching his career high in points, achieved in 2003-04 and in 2006-07. He scored his fourth goal of the season against Edmonton on Sunday.
Columbus goaltender Pascal Leclaire has started all three games against the Oilers this season, going 1-0-1 with a 2.38 goals-against average. Leclaire, who has started nine straight games for the Blue Jackets, is 0-2-1 with a 2.95 GAA in five games during the home losing streak after going 6-0-0 with a 1.65 GAA and one shutout during the win streak at Nationwide Arena.
The Oilers concluded a five-game homestand with a 5-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday, snapping a season-high seven-game home winning streak.
Edmonton gave up goals on two of the Predators' first three shots and trailed 4-0 less than a minute into the second period.
"They pretty much scored on their first two chances," Edmonton forward Robert Nilsson said. "We got a lot of good chances, but couldn't bury them."
Ales Hemsky, who leads the Oilers with 38 assists and 56 points, had a goal in regulation and the only goal of the shootout in Sunday's win over Columbus. He has scored in each of his two games versus the Blue Jackets this season, and has three goals and five assists during a six-game point streak against them.
Mathieu Garon stopped just nine of 12 shots in the first period on Tuesday before getting pulled. Garon made 35 saves in Sunday's victory, and is 5-1-1 with one tie, one shutout and a 2.48 GAA lifetime against Columbus.