The Columbus Blue Jackets (40-29-4) are in Edmonton tonight to take on the Oilers (32-34-7) in the second leg of their three-game Western Canada trip. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 9:00 PM ET.
Ever since making a splash at the trade deadline in February, the Blue Jackets have been struggling to find offensive consistency. In the 12 games since the deadline, the CBJ are 5-6-1 and are averaging just 2.25 goals per contest.
What’s worse is that when they’re cold, they’re cold. They’ve been shut out three times during that stretch, including a 4-0 loss to the Oilers at Nationwide Arena earlier in the month.
Losers of two straight and dangerously hanging onto the final plaoyff spot in the Eastern Conference heading into tonight’s matchup, the Jackets desperately need their luck to turn against Edmonton.
Many CBJ players have said recently after games that the chances have been there and it’s only a matter of time before results follow. Newcomer Matt Duchene is one in particular that regularly comments on the club’s bad luck, whether it’s a bouncing puck, hitting posts, or flat out getting denied by opposing goaltending.
Like the Jackets, the Oilers enter tonight’s contest riding a two-game losing streak, both on the road. Now back home at Rogers Place, they’ll be looking to get off their own schneid, although their playoff hopes are all but gone at this point in the season.
Connor McDavid, who’s second in the National Hockey League in points, was on the ice for all four goals against the CBJ the last time they met in Columbus, registering three assists that afternoon. If the Jackets are going to have a chance at coming away with two points, they’ll need to shut down McDavid’s line, which consists of a pair of skaters with 90+ points on the season.
With just nine games left, the Blue Jackets are running out of time to find their game and get some consistency heading into the postseason. Even reaching the playoffs, at this point, isn’t a given considering the way the team’s played of late. Two points tonight are almost a must with the way their Eastern Conference foes are pouncing on the two Wild Card spots up for grabs.