Oilers defeat Blue Jackets, move into tie for first in Pacific
Koskinen makes 45 saves for Edmonton; Columbus fails to gain in Eastern wild cardby Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
EDMONTON -- Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves, and the Edmonton Oilers moved into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with a 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Place on Saturday.
Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist for the Oilers (37-24-8), who are 4-1-0 in their past five games. Edmonton is tied with the Vegas Golden Knights, three points ahead of the Calgary Flames.
Gustav Nyquist scored at 19:01 of the third period to end Koskinen's bid for his second shutout of the season.
"[Koskinen] was unbelievable, the rest of the group wasn't so unbelievable," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "I was worried about us a little bit this morning when there wasn't much juice in our group at the morning skate. I don't know if it was mental fatigue or whatever it is, but we were not good tonight. Our execution was poor and our ability to win battles to get to pucks was really poor, but our goaltender was really good, so we got two points."
[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Oilers highlights]
Joonas Korpisalo made 20 saves for the Blue Jackets (32-22-15), who are 2-6-6 in their past 12 games and tied with the New York Islanders for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"I thought we checked well, we were skating, and off that we had some chances and got to play in their zone a little bit," Columbus forward Boone Jenner said. "I thought we were skating. [Koskinen] was really good. Obviously, we want to bear down on some of those chances to get it by him and change the momentum of the game. It's just about finding a way to get a few past him and get on the other side of these games."
Chiasson scored at 3:08 of the first period on the first shot of the game to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead. He took a bank pass off the boards from Jujhar Khaira inside the Columbus blue line and beat Korpisalo with a shot from above the right face-off circle.
Video: CBJ@EDM: Chiasson hammers slap shot past Korpisalo
The Blue Jackets outshot the Oilers 21-7 in the first period.
"I felt good. I think we still played pretty well, we kept them on the outside," Koskinen said. "They got a lot of shots, but most of them were from the outside. I think it was big that we kept them down in the first, and after that we got a little bit better, and it was a big win for us."
Emil Bemstrom had a chance to tie the game at 10:49 of the third period after he got a loose puck during a scramble in front, but he was unable to lift it over Koskinen and into the top of the net, hitting Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl to the left of the crease instead.
"I don't think we could have played any better," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We just played good as a team. We played good as a team away from the puck. Their goalie is the difference. That's the difference in the game, their goaltending."
Caleb Jones scored on a shot through traffic at 15:29 to put the Oilers ahead 2-0, and Connor McDavid scored at 16:25 off a pass from Zack Kassian to make it 3-0.
"That's the way we have to play. I thought we played a good game," Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski said. "It's a tough outcome, but that's part of hockey, and right now we have to find a way to get two points no matter who we play. I think we can take away a lot of positives going into tomorrow night (at the Vancouver Canucks) and we just have to tell ourselves this is how we have to play. If we play like that, I think we're going to win a lot more games than we're going to lose. It's just unfortunate tonight we came out on the wrong side of things."
After Nyquist's goal made it 3-1, Riley Sheahan scored into an empty net with 30 seconds left for the 4-1 final.
Video: CBJ@EDM: Jones hammers one-timer past Korpisalo
They said it
"We're going to keep going. There is no quit in here, so we're going to keep doing the same things. We spent some time in their zone, we just have to find a way to score. [Mikko Koskinen] made some good saves, and you just have to be better when you get the chances. " - Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist
"He's been outstanding the last couple of games he's played and really all season. Tonight, he kept us in it, and we were able to stick around, hang around and fortunately get the victory. It's basically all because of him. He basically stood on his head and kept us in there. He had a good game." -- Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones on goalie Mikko Koskinen
Need to know
Nyquist has three goals in the past three games. ... Draisaitl did not have a point for the second game in the past nine. ... McDavid has 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in eight games since returning from a quad injury that caused him to miss six games. ... Koskinen is 3-0-0 against the Blue Jackets.
Blue Jackets: At the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-O, NHL.TV)
Oilers: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)