The Columbus Blue Jackets are out west for a three-game road trip, which started in Calgary on Wednesday night. They were able to get a point, but fell by a score of 3-2 at the Saddledome. It should have been more than a point after getting ahead 2-0 in the first period. The offence which has been inconsistent throughout the year, ran into a drought in the second and third periods.
Joonas Korpisalo played well enough for the Blue Jackets to get the W, as he stopped 34 of 37 shots for a 0.919 save percentage. It’s a tough loss for a team that is in the midst of a playoff race. Columbus head into Edmonton with a record of 32-21-15 and 79 points to give them an upper-hand on a wildcard. However, their 79 points only provides a 3-point advantage over the Rangers. They are a point up on the Islanders for the No. 1 wildcard.
The way I see it, the Blue Jackets are playing with house money. There aren’t too many people outside of Columbus that had faith in the Blue Jackets going anywhere after a lot of their talent left in the summer. Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky both departed Columbus to sign for more money elsewhere. That immediately subtracted two focal points of their roster.
Along with departures in the offseason, John Tortorella has been forced to mix his lines up constantly because of injuries. Oliver Bjorkstrand is the latest Blue Jacket to go down with an injury. He will be out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. Bjorkstrand had to get surgery to repair his ankle, as he will be focusing on rehabbing to get ready for next season and not a playoff run in 2020.
Despite playing in only 49 games, Bjorkstrand still leads the team with 21 goals. He is not the only difference maker that the Blue Jackets have been without either. Bjordkstrand joins Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones on the shelf. Atkinson is scheduled to return soon, but Jones is out until at least late April, so he could be done for the season, too.
Tortorella hasn’t had the luxury of using Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo in tandem as well. Merzlikins is attending to a concussion and is listed as out indefinitely. The good news is that Korpisalo was ready to return as soon as Merzlikins went down. It would have been nice to have a healthy team in Edmonton tonight. They face an Oilers team coming off a loss, though have won three of their last four games. Edmonton are trailing the Golden Knights by 2 points in the Pacific Division, so tonight is an important game for both clubs. Head below for our free Blue Jackets vs. Oilers pick.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Edmonton Oilers Betting Odds:
Blue Jackets vs. Oilers Prediction:
After everything that the Blue Jackets have endured with injuries this season, it’s impressive that Tortorella has them in a position to go to the playoffs. His effort behind the bench has largely gone unnoticed, but he has to be applauded for the job he’s done with the Blue Jackets. Having said that, the injuries might be too much for him to handle now. It’s looked that way lately. While they are holding onto a wildcard at the moment, it might not last long if they continue down the path they’re on. Columbus has been on a massive slide since February 8. They went on an eight-game losing streak, and only disrupted the skid with an overtime win against the lowly Senators.
Since that win, the Blue Jackets have won just one of their last four outings. Several of their losses have been in overtime, though, so they were able to pick up some points during that drought. The team has been competitive despite a lot of losses in February, so we will certainly give them that. They have scored just 2.6 goals per game, while allowing 3.7 goals per game in their previous ten showings. Korpisalo has allowed at least 3 goals in his past three efforts. His team might be 12-9-11 on the road, which isn’t terrible, but the numbers suggest that they might have gotten a lot of puck luck.
Columbus has scored 2.59 goals per contest and allowed 3 goals per game on the road. Korpisalo has been horrendous versus the Oilers in his career. He can’t seem to figure this offence out. In six games, Korpisalo has taken a beating with a 4.41 GAA and 0.852 save percentage. As a team the Blue Jackets haven’t succeeded against the Oilers. They’ve lost their last three meetings by a combined score of 12-2 in three blowouts. I suspect another tough night for the Blue Jackets against the Oilers. Expect the firepower of the Oilers to overwhelm Korpisalo and the Blue Jackets on Saturday night in Edmonton.