NHL Game Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets | 03/07/2024

First Robert Thomas a week ago, then Danton Heinen two days ago. You thought stopping a shorthanded breakaway was great, imagine preventing an empty net goal. If Ryan Nugent-Hopkins makes another successful backcheck, we’re calling it the Nuge Hat-Trick.

That’s why you don’t stop watching a hockey game until every minute has been played. Most Oilers fans thought it was over after the 1-0 goal in the third period. Tuesday night had all the feelings of a Playoff game, and not at all like the 6-5 game we saw between Edmonton and Boston before. One shift, one play and one mistake can change everything. They wound up tying the game late in the third period and then won it in Overtime. The mistake made on the 1-0 goal they allowed was getting up too much on the play, leaving the Bruins open to attack. But they kept with it and still fought hard until the end. Big saves made by both Linus Ullmark and Stuart Skinner just added onto the fans getting their money’s worth at TD Garden.

A shoutout to Bruins forward James Van Riemsdyk, playing in his 1000th NHL game. When you have that much longevity in the NHL, you’re doing something right.

Where a team finishes in the standings doesn’t determine who wins the Stanley Cup. That has been proven many times in this league. But if you’re really excited about their chances of finishing higher up, the last 3 games in this 4 game road trip should be winnable on paper. The keys to the game are…

First Impressions: In case you somehow missed yesterday’s news, Edmonton acquired Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick from Anaheim. According to the Oilers Access twitter account, they’re expected to play in this game. If they do, we’ll get our first look at them to see how they truly fit with the team and chemistry.

A Tale Of Two Thirds: The Blue Jackets have a third period goal differential of -33. The final 20 minutes have plagued Columbus all season long, whereas the Oilers are +20 in their final frames. This was the difference maker in the first meeting between these teams and I expect it to be the story again.

Just Like Any Other Game: Unless we get breaking news before pre-game, this is everybody’s last game before the Trade Deadline. If a player has seen their names in trade rumors or discussions, they shouldn’t let it distract them from doing the job that only they can control. They should work their butts off and perhaps show their management that they deserve to stay with their current team.

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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