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Struggling Jackets head to Edmonton

by Brian Compton /
BLUE JACKETS (16-11-3) at OILERS (11-14-5)

TV: Fox Sports-Ohio; SNET-EDM.

Last 10: Columbus 2-5-3; Edmonton 6-3-1.

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Columbus earned a 3-2 shootout victory against Edmonton on Oct. 28 at Nationwide Arena.

Big Story: Columbus earned a point in the standings Wednesday night in a 3-2 overtime loss at Vancouver, but the Blue Jackets have slipped a bit in the Central Division thanks to two wins in their last 10 games. Ryan Kesler scored all three goals for the Canucks.

"He certainly was the best player on the ice," Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. "Sometimes he gets overshadowed by other players on the team but his speed and his skill are real dangerous."

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: Tom Sestito's first NHL goal erased a 2-1 deficit 7:34 into the third period Wednesday night, but Ryan Kesler's third goal of the game resulted in a 3-2 defeat for the Blue Jackets. Mathieu Garon made 27 saves, but it wasn't enough to avoid the club's fifth straight loss on the road.

"We've shown there's a lot of heart on this team, and we're right there," Sestito said. "It's close, and hopefully we start getting two points."

Oilers: Edmonton enters Thursday's action hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak. In the fifth of a six-game homestand, the Oilers suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Edmonton was whistled for five penalties in the second period and allowed a pair of power-play goals.

"We started to take too many penalties and it disrupted the flow of the game," rookie forward Jordan Eberle said. "We just couldn't get the momentum back. When you don't come out ready for the second period, that's when you take penalties."

Who's Hot: Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets with 17 goals in 29 games. … Oilers rookie Taylor Hall has four goals this month and now has 10 on the season, while Eberle has goals in back-to-back games.

Injury Report: Jared Boll (back) is day-to-day for Columbus, while Derek Dorsett (leg) is questionable after going down during the second period on Wednesday night. … Edmonton will be without Ales Hemsky (groin), Shawn Horcoff (knee) and Jim Vandermeer (ankle).

Stat Pack: Columbus outhit the New York Rangers 47-21 last Saturday night … Oilers defenseman Jason Strudwick cracked the lineup for the first time in 14 games on Tuesday. His team is last in the League in shots on goal per game (25.2).

Puck Drop: "There's a certain fragility with trying to get traction and be a respectable team and a consistent team, so as a coach you work different angles at different times. The big thing that you want them to know is that you're doing everything you can to try to help them, because you're going to be demanding on the other side of that anyway." -- Oilers coach Tom Renney
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