The Oilers seek to win their third straight on their longest road trip of the season and continue their traditional success against the Blue Jackets when the teams face off Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena.
This will be the league-high ninth road game overall and fourth of a seven-game trip for Edmonton (6-4-1), which has played only three times at home. All four of the Oilers’ regulation losses have come away from home, the most recent a 3-1 defeat to Nashville on Thursday that opened their trip.
That loss was the fifth straight overall for the Oilers, but they’ve since rebounded to win two in a row, defeating Philadelphia 5-4 on Sunday. Ales Hemsky scored two goals to snap a personal 18-game drought and added an assist, giving him an assist in five of his last six games.
“I wouldn’t have minded a couple of garbage goals, but I didn’t get mentally down and the goals came,” said Hemsky, who scored a career-high 20 goals in 2007-08 and had a team-best 71 points.
Hemsky had two goals and an assist in three games against the Blue Jackets last season - all wins for the Oilers. Edmonton lost once to the Blue Jackets in 2007-08, falling 4-2 in Columbus on New Year’s Eve, but defeats have been rare for the Oilers in this series. Edmonton holds a 19-4-2 edge with three ties, and has only lost twice in regulation to Columbus since 2001.
After Dwayne Roloson made 22 saves to beat the Flyers, Mathieu Garon could be back in net looking to continue his individual success against the Blue Jackets. Garon defeated Columbus twice last season, improving to 6-1-1 with one tie, a 2.31 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in nine career meetings.
The last-place team in the Central Division, Columbus (4-6-2) suffered its fifth loss in six games Monday night, 4-3 in overtime to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. It was something of a moral victory for the Blue Jackets, who salvaged a point after rallying from three goals down in the third period.
“The biggest thing we did was outwork them,” captain Rick Nash said. “It showed we have a lot of character and we don’t give up.”
Nash has failed to score a goal in his last six games after totaling five in the season’s first six contests. The left wing has 10 goals and six assists in 19 games versus Edmonton, including a hat trick in the New Year’s Eve victory.