Oilers vs. Blue Jackets
Columbus, OH - After earning back-to-back wins over last season's Stanley Cup finalists, the Columbus Blue Jackets don't want to have a letdown when they face lesser competition in their next game.
The Blue Jackets will try to notch their first three-game win streak of the season Thursday night when they try to hand the Edmonton Oilers a sixth straight loss.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Blue Jackets –175 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Oilers. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 61% of more than 658 bets for this game have been placed on the Blue Jackets.
Four wins this season for Columbus (5-3-0) have been by one goal, with the other a two-goal victory with an empty-net score. The Blue Jackets showed their grittiness in their last two games, winning 3-2 at Chicago on Saturday and 2-1 at home over Philadelphia on Monday.
"We need to compete for 60 minutes," center Derick Brassard said. "If we don't, we don't win. The past two games, we got good goaltending and we had key goals at key moments, and that's how we win."
Brassard scored on the power play and Kyle Wilson notched his first NHL goal Monday while Mathieu Garon made 28 saves to improve to 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average.
The win over the Flyers capped a stretch of four games in six days for a Columbus club learning to adapt to coach Scott Arniel's system that emphasizes traffic in front of the net and better zone coverage on defense.
"It's four games in six nights against four real tough opponents," Arniel said. "We got three wins out of it so it's a big step for this young team."
Columbus could have an edge in its first look at No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall of Edmonton. The rookie left wing played for three seasons under Blue Jackets assistant coach Bob Boughner with Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League.
Hall, though, has had a rough start to his NHL career with just one assist. He's trying to stay positive as he adjusts to the league.
"I'm getting a little bit antsy but at the same time, it's a process - my NHL career is pretty young right now and there's only been seven games," Hall told the Oilers' official website. "Everybody goes through tough times, but it's how you come out of it. It's what you do to get yourself out of that slump and make yourself a better player that makes you a little bit stronger in the end."
Edmonton (2-4-1) is 2-22-3 in its last 27 road games. The Oilers dropped four straight overall in regulation before Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss at Calgary.
Rookie Magnus Paajarvi and defenseman Tom Gilbert scored third-period goals to help the Oilers earn a point for the first time since Oct. 10. Edmonton recovered after being outshot 25-14 through two periods.
"We just can't seem to put it together," coach Tom Renney said. "But it's not a matter of throwing your arms up in the air and asking what's going on, it's a matter of sticking with it."
Edmonton has allowed seven power-play goals in 15 chances in three road games this season, giving up two on Tuesday.Columbus won three of four against Edmonton last season. Ales Hemsky has seven goals and 10 assists in his last nine games against the Blue Jackets.