Friday, December 02, 2011

Game Day: Blue Jackets vs Oilers

Columbus (7-15-3) vs Edmonton (12-10-3)

Time:      7:30pm
Where:   Rexall Place
Watch:    Sportsnet

Listen:    630 Ched

Projected Line Combinations
Eberle - Nugent-Hopkins - Smyth
Hemsky - Horcoff - Gagner
Paajarvi- Belanger - Jones
Petrell - O'Marra - Hordichuk

Tonight should be pay back night, for one Derek Dorsett. The last time the Blue Jackets were in town, Dorsett engaged in a tussle with Oilers star forward Taylor Hall. As we all know, Hall suffered a high ankle sprain and was out for the rest of the season. Edmonton didn't play Columbus again but they will Friday night. I would expect some sort of a response from the Oilers.

The Oilers top line continues to score goals and are led by rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and sophomore Jordan Eberle. The two now sit in the top ten in NHL scoring and they don't seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon. With the solid games that Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi had against Minnesota, you would have to think that one if not both, are about to end their season long goal droughts.

Defence Pairings
Gilbert - Smid
Whitney - Petry
Sutton - Peckham

Don't expect any changes to the Oilers backend, as the current six man group are coming off one of their most complete efforts. Whitney is starting to look more comfortable with each passing game and Jeff Petry played one of his best games of the season. Add to that, the strong play from both Theo Peckham and Andy Sutton on Wednesday night and Edmonton's backend finally looks less like an AHL blueline and closer to an NHL defence.

Devan Dubnyk

With Edmonton playing back-to-back games this weekend, look for Dubnyk to get the call against the Jackets. Number 40 continues to struggle with his game and the Oilers need him to step up with a big game on Friday night. There's a chance that Nikolai Khabibulin may get the start against the Jackets and the Oilers would then have Devan play against the Flames on Saturday night but it's a slim one.

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