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FINAL: Oilers 4, Blue Jackets 1

Werenski ties team record for career goals by a defenseman

by Jeffrey Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets lost their second straight, falling to Edmonton by a 4-1 score in front of the Nationwide Arena crowd on Hockey Halloween.  

Game in a Paragraph 

The struggles of the final 10 minutes of the Philadelphia game carried over for Columbus, which gave up four goals in the first 25 minutes of this contest. From there, the Blue Jackets steadied the ship a bit, but it was too little, too late. Leon Draisaitl led the way with two goals for Edmonton to tie the NHL lead with 12, and he also added an assist for a three-point night. 

Video: Torts talks about the need to have some urgency.

Quote of the Game

Head coach John Tortorella: "I thought we'd play better (than Saturday vs. Philadelphia). We didn't."

CBJ Notables 

  • Zach Werenski scored his third goal of the year and the 41st of his career, tying the Blue Jackets' career record for tallies by a blueliner with Rostislav Klesla (2001-11).  
  • Elvis Merzlikins stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief of Joonas Korpisalo in his Nationwide Arena debut. 
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois had an assist to extend his point streak to eight games (5-3-8). 

Quick Recap 

Edmonton nearly scored on the second shift of the game as Joel Persson drilled the post from the right point, but soon enough, the deluge of goals would start -- helped, in part, by three penalties taken by the Blue Jackets in the opening period. 

The Oilers made it 1-0 at the 9:11 mark on the power play, as goalie Mike Smith pushed the puck up the ice, forcing the Blue Jackets into a bad change. That left James Neal alone behind the defense off a pass from Draisaitl, and Neal scored his NHL-leading eighth power-play goal of the year past Korpisalo.  

Edmonton made it 2-0 at 17:02 just three seconds after another power play ended. The Oilers kept the pressure on and scored as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was denied on the doorstep, but he grabbed his rebound and fired it across the crease for Draisaitl to slam home from the right side. 

It took just 1:20 into the second for Edmonton to make it a three-goal game. Nugent-Hopkins threw a shot on net from the right-wing boards that Korpisalo spilled, and it deflected off Jujhar Khaira and pinballed into the net. 

Finally, Edmonton scored to make it 4-0 at the 4:56 mark. The Blue Jackets pushed up the ice looking for a goal, but a pass went awry and sprung the Oilers on a 2-on-1, with Kassian feeding Draisaitl across the slot for the slam dunk past Korpisalo. 

That was it for the CBJ netminder, who stopped eight of 12 shots, as Merzlikins came in. The Blue Jackets quickly earned a power play and converted, snapping a 1-for-26 run, as Cam Atkinson fed Werenski from behind the goal line and the defenseman sent it past Smith.  

Video: EDM@CBJ: Werenski hammers home power-play goal

The Blue Jackets had a chance to get back into it further with a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 1:47 late in the second period, but Columbus could not score, with Smith's side-to-side save on Atkinson low on the left side the best chance.  

Neither team got much going in the third period, with Merzlikins finishing up his scoreless showing with a nice stop on a half breakaway by Patrick Russell. 

3 Takeaways

1. Slipping on oil: There was a time where Connor McDavid probably wondered what it would take to beat the Blue Jackets. Columbus won four of the first six meetings with the Oilers in McDavid's career, but the three games over the past two seasons have been one-sided affairs with the Edmonton winning by a combined score of 12-2. This game was the blueprint for a loss, as the early penalties put the CBJ in a hole, the Jackets got caught trying to come back for a pair of transition goals, and suddenly it was out of hand. "It's funny in this league when you match up with certain teams," Nick Foligno said. "We have to rectify it."

2. Penalties killed: Edmonton finished just 1-for-5 on the power play, which seems good considering the Oilers entered Nationwide Arena second in the NHL at north of 30 percent. Yet the Blue Jackets' early penalties simply crushed the team, as the one Edmonton power-play goal and the tally right after a penalty expired essentially gifted the visitors to an early lead. Perhaps most galling to the Blue Jackets was the two that led to goals -- a tripping call on Dubois and an interference penalty on Sonny Milano -- came in the neutral zone. "Two of them are just needless penalties," Tortorella said. "It puts you in a jam."

3. Meanwhile, there's the CBJ power play, which was certainly a topic of interest coming into the game. The Blue Jackets switched some units around and finished 1-for-3 thanks to Werenski's goal, which concluded a strong run of zone time that put pressure on the Oilers. Yet perhaps the final turning point of the game was the 5-on-3 that the Blue Jackets couldn't convert. "We have to find a way to put a puck in the net there," Werenski said. "If we score there it's 4-2 and it's a little different game there." A goal was progress, but so much more could have been had. 

Notable 

Smith made 23 saves on 24 shots for the Oilers. ... Draisaitl became the first Oiler to score 12 goals in October since Wayne Gretzky in 1983. … Korpisalo played in his 100th career NHL game. … The Oilers have won three in a row in Columbus after having previously lost five straight on the road to the Blue Jackets. … Draisaitl now has a 5-8-13 line in nine career games vs. Columbus. … McDavid finished with an assist and now has a 5-13-18 line in nine games vs. Columbus, while former CBJ forward Sam Gagner had an assist to increase his career mark to 11-17-28 in 33 games vs. the Blue Jackets. … The Blue Jackets fell to 0-5-2 when scoring first while Edmonton moved to 6-0-0 when getting the first tally.  

Roster Report 

With winger Alexandre Texier (knee) and defenseman Ryan Murray (hand) going on injured reserve, winger Jakob Lilja and blueliner Markus Nutivaara returned to the lineup. Defenseman Scott Harrington was a healthy scratch.  

Up Next 

Columbus continues its run of games vs. Western Conference teams with a back-to-back this weekend. The Blue Jackets are in St. Louis on Friday night to play the defending Stanley Cup champions before returning to Nationwide Arena on Saturday night to face Calgary. 

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