The Edmonton Oilers’ high-flying offense was ground to a halt by the Blue Jackets for 40 minutes Friday night at Rexall Place. In the third period, they took off.
Despite taking a 2-1 lead into the second intermission on the second half of back-to-back road games, the Oilers exploded for five goals in the third period and used a Ryan Jones hat trick to defeat the Blue Jackets by a 6-3 final. It was a game that had many ebbs and flows, and neither team had a firm grasp on the outcome until the final minutes of regulation.
Jordan Eberle opened the scoring just 21 seconds into the game, taking a sweet cross-ice feed from rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a 1-0 Oilers lead. Rick Nash was in the box for a hooking penalty called eight seconds in. The Blue Jackets were the beneficiaries of a 5-on-3 power play in the closing minutes of the first period, and it was Nash creating a nice set play. His one-time pass found Mark Letestu at the left point, and a rocket shot tied the game.
The second period was highlighted by a Tom Gilbert gaffe that wound up in a shorthanded goal for the Blue Jackets. The Oilers defenseman slipped while fanning on a pass, and Derek Dorsett took the puck to the net and slid it behind a sprawling Devan Dubnyk. Once the third period began, it was the Ryan Jones show in Edmonton.
Jones, a former standout winger at Miami (Ohio), scored three goals in the third period and capped his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:02 of the third. He tied the game early in the final frame on a wrap-around and gave Edmonton a 4-2 lead on a rebound midway through the period with his other two markers.
Dorsett was the bright spot for Columbus, scoring twice (once in the third) for the first multi-goal game of his NHL career. Kristian Huselius made his season debut for the Blue Jackets after missing the start of the year due to an upper-body injury suffered in the offseason.
The Oilers skated off the ice after the second period to a chorus of displeasure from the crowd at Rexall Place. They were beat to pucks and deflated a bit after Dorsett’s shorthanded goal, giving head coach Tom Renney something to discuss in the intermission.
Jones’ goal sparked the Edmonton bench and it came at the ideal time. They got back to their north-south attack game and put pressure on the Blue Jackets, who couldn’t keep up with the Oilers down the stretch.
- The Blue Jackets allowed the first goal of the game for the 15th time this season. The club is now 1-12-2 in those games, while going 2-7-2 when tied after two periods and 5-2-0 when leading after two periods.
- Columbus is now 13-22-6 all-time against Edmonton, including a 5-14-2 mark at Rexall Place. Eight of the last nine meetings between the clubs have been won by the home team.
- Letestu scored his fourth goal of the season (and third power-play goal) in the first period. After being held without a goal 11 games prior to being acquired by Columbus on Nov. 8, he has scored four goals the last 12 games.
- Nash has points in five of the last eight games after notching an assist on Letestu’s goal. He has 4-3-7 during that stretch after being held to 0-2-2 the previous six games. In 31 career games against the Oilers, he has collected 11-11-22.
- Tonight marked Dorsett’s first career multi-goal game, but also the first shorthanded goal of his NHL career. The two-point outing matches a career high, set three times previously. He has 4-2-6 the last 13 games after being held to 1-0-1 the first 13 games.
- Derek MacKenzie has assists in back-to-back games after notching a helper on Dorsett’s second goal. He had gone 21 games without an assist prior to registering a helper last night at Calgary. He was +2 on the night, has been plus or even in 24 of 26 games and leads the club in that category.
vs. Montreal Canadians
Bell Centre | Montreal, Quebec
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com