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Jackets host Oilers tonight

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers look to get back on track tonight as they face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Edmonton has had a tough time on the road this season, winning only one of their first seven games away from Rexall Place.

The Oilers have traditionally had success against tonight's opponents, with an all-time record of 13-2-5 versus Columbus. Their last regulation loss against Columbus came in the 2001-02 season although the Blue Jackets did win a pair of overtime games last year.

Columbus has won two of its last three games but have not beaten a team with a .500 record or better this year. Their five wins have come against Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Calgary and St. Louis.

BLUE JACKETS TO WATCH: After Columbus dealt goaltender Marc Denis in the off-season, 24-year-old Pascal Leclaire was handed the reigns as starting netminder. So far, he's done well with a 4-6-1 record despite his team's tough start to the year... David Vyborny has gotten off to a great start for Columbus this season, leading the team with 14 points through 14 games. Rick Nash is off to a bit of a slow start with only four goals but is always dangerous... Sergei Fedorov has five points in seven games since coming off the injured list.

OILERS TO WATCH: It will be interesting to see how the team responds after being skated hard in practice yesterday morning. Ales Hemsky has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last three games but is overdue for another breakout game. One player who has made an impact recently is Brad Winchester and he should be on his game again tonight.

ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton - Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out. Columbus - Bryan Berard (lower back) is out. Duvie Westcott (finger) is out.

QUOTABLE: "I've had Horc on 35 different lines in an effort to try and find a combination that clicks for him. Maybe that's been disruptive. Maybe we have to go back to Smytty, Horc and Hemmer together. There's an onus on me as a coach to try and find a way to get him out of it. He and four or five other guys."
- Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish on trying to find the right combination for centre Shawn Horcoff.

FAST FACTS: Steve Staios registered his 900th career PIM last game in style with a season-high 19 minutes in penalties. Staios now has 50 PIM on the season, ranking fourth in the NHL... Columbus will wear their third jersey tonight and are 1-1-0 when wearing it this season... The Blue Jackets power play is middle of the road at 18.1% or 12th in the NHL while Edmonton's penalty killing is still 5th in the league at 89.0% (92.3% and 4th on the road)... The Oilers have scored 19 of their 40 goals in the third period this season, while Columbus only has seven goals in period three.
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