Game Notes: Edmonton Oilers @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Cam Lewis
1 year ago
1. The Edmonton Oilers just put together one of their most commanding wins of the season in Pittsburgh, hammering the Penguins by a score of 7-2. Next up, they’ll head to Columbus to face the lowly Blue Jackets, who sit dead last in the league with an 18-35-5 record.
2. Though the Blue Jackets aren’t a strong opponent, the Oilers learned the hard way that they can’t take anybody lightly because there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win in the NHL. Back in January, the Blue Jackets rolled into Edmonton and edged out a 3-2 win in overtime. That loss snapped the Oilers’ six-game winning streak.
3. The Blue Jackets are playing some of their best hockey of the season since coming out of the All-Star break. They’re 3-3-1 since the break and have pulled off wins against high-quality opponents, beating the Leafs in Toronto by a score of 4-3 and the Stars in Dallas by a score of 4-1. A 3-3-1 record might not seem like much from the perspective of a playoff team, but it’s a nice showing for the Blue Jackets, who haven’t had a winning streak go longer than two games this season.
4. This game will be played on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 PM local time. There’s been no shortage of talk about how the Oilers notoriously struggle with matinee games but this season has featured an interesting split when it comes to playing in the afternoon.
When the Oilers are at home, they’ve been terrible in matinee games, losing 4-3 to the Anaheim Ducks, 6-2 to the Dallas Stars, and 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues. But when they’re on the road, the Oilers have been just fine in afternoon games this season. They beat the New York Rangers 4-3, the Florida Panthers 4-2, the Ottawa Senators 6-3, lost to the Colorado Avalanche 6-5 in overtime, and got pounded 6-2 by the Montreal Canadiens.
The Oilers have two more matinee games on the schedule after this one in Columbus. They’ll play the Kraken in Seattle in the afternoon in March and they’ll face the Sharks in the afternoon in San Jose in April.
5. We might see Vladislav Gavrikov back in Columbus’ lineup on Saturday. He’s been held out of the lineup for over a week now as the Blue Jackets believed that they were closing in on a deal that would have sent him to the Boston Bruins. The Bruins apparently asked for more time and then wound up pulling the trigger on a deal with the Washington Capitals in which they acquired forward Garnet Hathaway and defenceman Dmitry Orlov.
Now that Boston is out of the picture, the market for Gavrikov has gotten smaller. The Blue Jackets are said to be looking for the same return that they got for shutdown defender David Savard a couple of years ago, which was a first- and a third-round pick. They might have to lower their asking price.
6. With two goals and four points against the Penguins, Connor McDavid is now on pace to break the 150-point plateau this season. He’s averaging 1.85 points per game, which puts him on pace to score 152 points over the course of 82 games. The last time somebody scored more than 150 points in a single season was Mario Lemieux in 1995-96. Lemieux (x4), Wayne Gretzky (x9), Steve Yzerman, Phil Esposito, and Bernie Nicholls are the only players ever to reach that feat.
Also, McDavid is scoring 0.78 goals per game, which puts him on pace to score 64 goals over 82 games. Three players have hit the 60-goal plateau in the salary cap era. Auston Matthews scored 60 last season, Steven Stamkos scored 60 in 2011-12, and Alex Ovechkin scored 65 in 2007-08.


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