NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, November 29th
(All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (8-16-2) at Columbus Blue Jackets (9-13-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers seek a fifth victory in six games on
Friday night as they continue their road trip with a stop in Columbus to
battle the Blue Jackets.
The Oilers' string of victories comes after the club dropped five straight
from Nov. 7-15, part of a 4-15-2 start to the season. Edmonton then ripped off
three straight wins for the first time this season and followed up a loss to
the Chicago Blackhawks with Thursday's shutout triumph over the Nashville
Making his first start of the season and with the Oilers, Ilya Bryzgalov made
33 saves to record his 31st career shutout. Bryzgalov was signed by Edmonton
on Nov. 8 and made his debut with the club in relief of Devan Dubnyk on Monday
versus the Blackhawks.
Bryzgalov stopped 12-of-13 shots faced in that one and was then perfect last
night in his first NHL start since April 25 with Philadelphia.
"It was great. Shutouts are always fun," Bryzgalov said.
Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins was obviously pleased with Bryzgalov's
"Check marks across the board for him tonight. He did a great job," Eakins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall scored 51 seconds apart in the second
period and Jordan Eberle added an empty-net goal for the Oilers, who have
pulled within two points of the Calgary Flames for 14th place out of 15 teams
in the Western Conference.
Despite Bryzgalov's shutout, Eakins may give Dubnyk the start tonight. The 27-
year-old is 7-3-2 with a 2.19 goals against average in 12 lifetime meetings
with the Blue Jackets, including 11 starts.
Dubnyk posted a 14-save shutout when the Oilers and Blue Jackets met for the
first time this season on Nov. 19 in Edmonton. David Perron had two goals and
a pair of assists in the win, while Eberle and Hall were among the goal
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 18 shots and Curtis McElhinney yielded
three on 14 shots for the Blue Jackets, who have lost seven of their past nine
versus the Oilers.
However, Columbus has won six of its past eight at home in this series.
The Blue Jackets have split their last six games overall, but followed up an
encouraging 6-0 victory in Toronto on Monday with a 4-0 home loss to the
Nashville Predators two nights later.
Bobrovsky made 25 saves in defeat.
"It looked like we lacked some energy, we lacked another step," Columbus coach
Todd Richards said. "But that's not an excuse. There's a way to win that game
tonight, and we didn't find it."
The Blue Jackets will visit the Boston Bruins on Saturday and McElhinney could
earn a start in one game of the back-to-back set. He is 4-0-0 with a 2.39 GAA
in seven games (4 starts) lifetime versus the Oilers, while Bobrovsky is 2-3-0
with a 2.87 GAA in five games (4 starts).
Bobrovsky backed up Bryzgalov for a season in Philadelphia before getting
dealt to Columbus and winning the Vezina Trophy in last season's lockout-
Forward Corey Tropp could make his Columbus debut tonight after being claimed
off waivers from Buffalo on Thursday. He has three goals and six assists in 43
career games, including one assist in nine appearances this season with the
11/29 10:49:23 ET