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Oilers' road trip continues against Blue Jackets

by Brian Hunter /

OILERS (8-9-4) at BLUE JACKETS (6-12-4)


Last 10: Edmonton 4-5-1; Columbus 3-5-2

Season series: Second of three meetings. The Oilers were outshot 40-14, but Sam Gagner had a goal and an assist, and Devan Dubnyk turned aside 39 shots to lead them to a 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Feb. 10 in Columbus.

Big story: While the Blue Jackets have just two wins over their past nine games, their overall body of work suggests improvement. They've won in Detroit and their losses include a pair of one-goal decisions to a Chicago team that still hasn't lost in regulation all season and one-goal setbacks to high-caliber competition in Anaheim and St. Louis. Those were all road games as well, indicating this Columbus team isn't getting pushed around by anyone.

Team Scope:

Oilers: This is the middle game during a run of nine in a row on the road for Edmonton, which started with an overtime loss in Chicago and a big win in Dallas before taking a step back with consecutive 4-2 losses to St. Louis and Minnesota. The Oilers sit in a three-way tie for third in the Northwest Division, only six points behind the first-place Canucks, but they'll need to start pulling out some of these games that have gotten away late if they want to remain in the thick of the Western Conference pack.

"We've got to play in their end. It's tough to get shots when you're playing in your own end and you're coughing up pucks in the neutral zone and you're not playing hard enough in the 'D' zone," said Gagner, who along with Magnus Paajarvi scored for the Oilers on Sunday.

Blue Jackets: In the Feb. 21 win over Detroit, a scary incident saw Columbus lose forward Artem Anisimov to an upper-body injury after he was involved in a collision that caused him to hit his head on the ice. Anismiov left the game on a stretcher, but returned to the lineup last Friday and scored in an OT loss to Chicago. He left Sunday's game for a stretch after blocking a shot, but returned to convert on a power play 2:26 into the extra period as the Blue Jackets prevailed 2-1 over the Avalanche. PA Parenteau also scored and Semyon Varlamov stopped 32 shots.

"We need to start winning," Anisimov told the Columbus Dispatch. "This is just the first step. If we can continue to play like this, we're going to be a dangerous club."

Who's hot: Jordan Eberle has assisted on four goals in the Oilers' past three games. Gagner has a pair of goals in the past three games. … Anisimov is joined by Vinny Prospal as Blue Jackets with goals in consecutive games. Nick Foligno and Mark Letestu have four assists in the past three games.

Injury report: Edmonton forward Taylor Hall (leg) and defensemen Corey Potter (head) and Mark Fistric (elbow) are day-to-day. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin (groin), defenseman Andy Sutton (knee) and forwards Shawn Horcoff (hand), Anton Lander (foot) and Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder) are on injured reserve. … Columbus defenseman Nikita Nikitin is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Defenseman John Moore and forwards Derick Brassard are also sidelined with upper-body injuries. Defensemen Ryan Murray (shoulder), Jack Johnson (upper body) and James Wisniewski (foot) and forward Brandon Dubinsky (knee) are on injured reserve.

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