Game Preview: Blue Jackets Host Oilers in Afternoon Matinee at Nationwide Arena

By Jacob Nitzberg on March 2, 2019 at 7:02 am
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) battle for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place.

Perry Nelson – USA TODAY Sports

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Momentum is key, and the Columbus Blue Jackets will be trying to build some on home ice this afternoon.

The Edmonton Oilers (27-30-7) visit the Blue Jackets (36-24-3) in an afternoon battle starting at 1 p.m. ET. Edmonton is coming off of a 4-2 win Thursday night against the basement-dwelling Ottawa Senators, while Columbus is coming off of a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Connor McDavid is one of the best players in the NHL, and the Blue Jackets' defensive corps will have their hands full all night trying to cover him. He comes into today's game with 33 goals and 54 assists (87 points) in 60 games. His elite speed may cause problems for the Blue Jackets' defensemen, who have struggled in recent times with quick players.

This will be the first meeting between Columbus and Edmonton this season. Last year, the Blue Jackets and Oilers split their two meetings, with the Oilers winning 7-2 in Columbus and the Blue Jackets winning 7-3 in Edmonton.

Projected Lines 

Atkinson - Dubois - Panarin 

Dzingel - Duchene - Bjorkstrand

Foligno - Jenner - Anderson

Robinson - Nash - Dubinsky 

Defensemen 

Werenski - Jones 

Nutivaara - Savard 

Harrington - McQuaid 

Goaltenders 

Bobrovsky/Korpisalo


Storylines 
  • Oliver Bjorkstrand is on a 4-game point streak and 2-game goal scoring streak coming into today's matchup. All aspects of his play have improved recently, especially once put on a line with Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene. Look for the high-flying line of Bjorkstrand, Duchene, and Dzingel to have a big impact on the game.
  • The Oilers rank 24th in both goals scored per game (2.75) and goals allowed per game (3.30), while the Blue Jackets rank 10th in goals scored per game (3.19) and 15th in goals allowed per game (2.97). On paper, Columbus has the advantage in almost every statistical category, but that by no means guarantees two points. The Blue Jackets will need to work hard and be efficient, or the holes in their game will be exposed by Connor McDavid and the Oilers.

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