The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't slow down without Rick Nash in the lineup and it appears that the Columbus captain didn't miss a step while he was out either.
Nash and the Blue Jackets visit the Oilers on Tuesday, looking to snap a three-game losing streak in Edmonton.
Columbus (22-19-4) - trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history - has built its recent run on the some strong goaltending, mostly from Steve Mason. But when Mason struggled on Sunday, Nash stepped up and led the Blue Jackets to a 6-5 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Nash, Columbus' leading scorer with 18 goals and 24 assists, had missed the previous four games with a knee injury. Despite their captain's absence, the Blue Jackets went 3-1-0 during that stretch, in large part because of Mason, who had a 1.76 goals-against average over those four games.
Mason put the Blue Jackets in an early hole on Sunday, though, and they trailed 3-1 midway through the second period. Nash and Jason Williams pulled Columbus even, then scored in the shootout after it squandered a two-goal lead.
Nash also had two assists for his 13th multipoint game of the season. The Blue Jackets are 9-2-2 in those games.
"There's a reason he's the captain," said Williams. "He's not the most vocal guy, but he leads by example and his work ethic and he did both tonight."
The win was Columbus' eighth in the last 11 games and came despite one of Mason's worst games of the season. The five goals he allowed tied a season high for the rookie, and the .833 save percentage was his second-lowest in 28 games.
Mason came into the game with the NHL's best goals-against average (1.81) and second-best save percentage (.936).
Columbus continues this three-game road trip in Edmonton (23-19-3), where it has just three wins in 14 all-time games (3-9-2). The Blue Jackets close their Canadian trip on Wednesday against the Calgary Flames.
Columbus is 0-2-1 in its last three road games against the Oilers, who have won four of their last five. Edmonton is coming off a 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.
Ethan Moreau recorded his first career hat trick and Ales Hemsky returned after missing 10 games because of a concussion and added two goals. Hemsky is the Oilers leading scorer with 37 points (12 goals and 25 assists) but had not scored a goal since Dec. 13.
"I'm very happy to come back like this," he said. "I took a couple hits in the game and my head reacted well, so I'm pretty happy about that. I knew it would be tough coming back from this, but I got a goal pretty early on and that really gave me confidence."
The win started a challenging six-game homestand for the Oilers, who also will host Buffalo, Minnesota, Nashville and Chicago.
The Oilers and Blue Jackets split two meetings in Columbus during November. Nash has one goal and two assists against Edmonton this season and five goals in his last five games against them.