COLUMBUS -- Derek Dorsett tried to ignite his team near the end of the first period Tuesday night, but earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty instead.
Not only did Columbus kill off the penalty, Dorsett atoned for his trip to the box by drawing a key penalty to help the Blue Jackets rally from a two-goal deficit against the shorthanded Edmonton Oilers. He then proceeded to seal a 4-2 victory at Nationwide Arena by collecting the first empty-net goal of his career.
"I took a penalty, but the guys killed it off and the guys knew what my intentions were," Dorsett said. "The boys rallied and killed it off, and I just kept playing hard. That's part of my game is to try and draw penalties and get us on the power play. It always feels good when you draw a penalty and the guys score on the power play.
"We could have been gassed and exhausted from playing that catch-up game, but we stuck together and battled as a team."
The visiting Oilers were already short two-thirds of their top line and three of their top four defensemen when Taylor Hall was cut on the forehead by teammate Corey Potter's skate after falling to the ice. Hall was held out of the game, but Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in less than nine minutes despite playing with 17 skaters.
Dorsett tried to persuade Edmonton's Theo Peckham into a fight in a final minute of the period, shoving him and jawing at him while skating next to the Oilers defenseman for half the length of the rink. Peckham never agreed, and Dorsett was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Eventually, Dorsett got his revenge. He was in the Edmonton crease after a whistle, and the pair locked up again. This time Peckham cross-checked Dorsett after the scrum spilled behind the net, and the Blue Jackets scored the game-tying goal with 0.8 seconds left in the second period. Dorsett had one shot at the empty net blocked, but he was all alone for a second one.
"I wasn't missing the second one," Dorsett said.
That wasn't the first goal by a member of Columbus' bottom six forwards. Colton Gillies, claimed on waivers from Minnesota three days prior, connected with Derek McKenzie at the top of the Edmonton crease 32 seconds into the final period for the game-winning tally.
"The fourth line came out in the third period and really strong and scored the winning goal," Columbus forward Derick Brassard said. "We lose a lot of games this year in the third period, and the first shift - bang -- our whole bench was pumped. They did a good job bringing energy to our team and they kill all our penalties tonight I think, so great job by them."
Anton Lander put Edmonton in front after a few minutes of wide-open hockey with a highlight-reel goal at 7:01 of the opening period. Lander ended up 1-on-1 with Brassard, and the rookie scored his second career NHL goal by swooping around Brassard before cutting back to the left in front of goaltender Curtis Sanford and tucking the puck behind him while falling to the ice.
Ben Eager made it a two-goal lead at 8:50, and Columbus interim coach Todd Richards used his timeout to settle his troops. Eager was waiting at the top of the crease after defenseman Jeff Petry collected a shot that went wide by Ales Hemsky. Petry was below the goal line and shoveled the puck back toward Eager for a one-timer and his fifth goal of the season.
"We started well," Edmonton center Sam Gagner said. "I thought we rebounded from [Hall's injury] as good as we could have hoped to, but then it was after that that we started to unravel a bit and get away from our game."
Ryan Johansen got the Blue Jackets on the board 2:37 into the second period. He sent the puck to Antoine Vermette at the left wall near the offensive blue line and then cut toward the net to receive a return pass. Edmonton's Ladislav Smid lunged with his stick and got it in Johansen's shooting path, but he was able to get enough on the shot to beat Dubnyk for his eighth of the season.
Brassard leveled the score with 0.8 seconds left in the middle period and Columbus on the power play. His initial shot was stopped by Dubnyk, but the rebound deflected off Petry and the goaltender's shoulder before trickling across the line.
After starting the season with just two goals and five points in his first 24 games, Brassard has five tallies and 10 points in his past 13 contests.
The Oilers are already without top-line phenoms Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Hall joined them among the injured before the game even started. Edmonton's players were able to shake off the sight of seeing their teammate in a scary incident and started well, but not having Hall played a part in the comeback as well.
"Well, a little bit of a manpower problem for starters," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said of yielding the comeback. "I thought we came a little unglued in the second period -- gave them a chance to feel good about themselves and them coming after us. We tried to push through in the third to try to get ourselves an equalizer ... but just couldn't muster up enough to push through and get the offense we needed."