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Oilers fall in Columbus

by Brian Compton
The road woes continue for the Edmonton Oilers.

Kristian Huselius had a goal and three assists and Steve Mason made 29 saves as the Oilers fell to 1-14-1 on the road since mid-December in a 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Monday night.

Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal and two assists and Jakub Voracek, Chris Clark and Marc Methot also scored for the Blue Jackets, who totaled only three goals in their previous two games. Derek Dorsett also had two assists for the first multi-point game of his career.

"Of late?" Oilers coach Pat Quinn responded when asked about Edmonton's road troubles of late.

"We haven't recovered from the loss of certain personnel," Quinn continued, referring to injuries to key players such as Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray and Nikolai Khabibulin. "We have got ourselves in a mentality that we're poor guys that have had some misfortune that's happened. We're not mentally tough enough to play through those things for long periods of time."

Columbus held just a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes before a wild third period. Voracek scored the lone goal of the first at 14:35 to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead, but Robert Nilsson tied it with his ninth goal of the season 1:52 into the second. Clark restored the Jackets' lead, however, less than three minutes later.

"We're OK, we do some good stuff -- but not good enough to win," Quinn said. "At the end of the night, in a game that's up for grabs, we've been in a lot of them but we don't grab it. We don't reach out and take it. On a night like tonight, it was our veterans that kind of let it get away from us."

The teams combined for five goals in the final 20 minutes. Methot turned a cross-ice feed from Vermette into a 3-1 lead in the opening minute, but Dustin Penner made it a one-goal game at 4:07 off a feed from Andrew Cogliano.

Huselius made it 4-2 with his 19th goal of the season at 6:36, when he skated in on a breakaway and beat Devan Dubnyk with a slap shot. Aaron Johnson got Edmonton back to within one just 1:09 later, but the Oilers failed to notch the equalizer and Vermette sealed the deal with an empty-net tally at 19:05.

"There were a lot of up and downs," Huselius said. "We played well for some time, then we lost the momentum and they came back and set the tempo."

Edmonton (21-41-7) will get another road test on Tuesday at Minnesota.

"Obviously, we like to play a little wide open with pinching in the offensive zone," Johnson said. "But there were a couple of times we just got caught out of position."

Columbus, which hosts Minnesota on Friday, may have lost defenseman Jan Hejda for the rest of the season. He sustained a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. After the game, coach Claude Noel said Hejda will likely miss a few weeks.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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