The last two teams in the NHL standings will meet today in Ohio, as the Columbus Blue Jackets host the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus has suffered through a nightmare of a season and is ranked 30th in the NHL with just 55 points on the season. Edmonton is 29th in the league standings and is still 14 points ahead of the Blue Jackets. Both teams have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason race.
The Oilers have gone six straight games without a regulation loss, posting a 4-0-2 record over that stretch. Edmonton has gone to a shootout in two straight and three of its last four games and is coming off Friday's shootout victory over the Florida Panthers.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins netted the lone goal of the shootout, ending the fourth round and sending Edmonton to a 2-1 win at Florida's BankAtlantic Center. Nugent-Hopkins outwaited Jose Theodore, and managed to slip a backhander home from the right side for the deciding tally.
Ryan Jones scored in regulation for the Oilers, while Devan Dubnyk stopped 26- of-27 shots in the victory.
"Our guys are working hard and the effort is legitimate," said Edmonton coach Tom Renney. "That's the main thing -- we have to make sure we bring this thing home properly."
Edmonton is just 12-21-4 as the road club this season and is capping a four- game road trip today.
Columbus is also coming off a victory, as it slammed the visiting Carolina Hurricanes by a 5-1 score on Friday. It was the second win in three games for the Blue Jackets, who had lost their previous four tilts in regulation.
R.J. Umberger netted a hat trick to lead his club to the blowout win over the Hurricanes and Derick Brassard assisted on all three goals.
"I think the whole team just felt good after that first one went in on the power play," Umberger said. "After that, it just seemed like Brass (Brassard) was finding me open a lot. We has some turnovers and odd-man rushes, but I think the key to the game was that our penalty kill was really good tonight"
It was the third three-goal game of Umberger's career and his first since Nov. 30, 2009. Umberger has 14 goals in 69 games this season.
Vinny Prospal had a goal and an assist and Mark Letestu also scored for the Blue Jackets, while Nikita Nikitin and Jack Johnson had two helpers apiece.
Steve Mason posted 39 saves in the victory.
Columbus, which is just 14-20-3 as the host this year, is closing a three-game homestand today. Next up for the Blue Jackets is a home-and-home series against the Detroit Red Wings.
Edmonton has taken three of the last four meetings with the Blue Jackets overall, but Columbus has claimed five straight as the host in this series.