Power-play proficiency was the difference on the night, as the Jackets scored twice on the man advantage while Edmonton was unsuccessful in three opportunities. The Jackets also outshot the Oilers 35-22 on the night.
The loss dropped the Oilers to 19-13-7 on the season, while Columbus climbed to an astounding 27-5-4 mark.
"We didn't even come close to their pace or their tenacity or their relentlessness," said Head Coach Todd McLellan. "We weren't anywhere near it. We're not capable yet of getting there. It was a great test for us. For me, that's a playoff-type environment and we had some go-to people who were invisible. We've got to get them up and running."
"I don't think we had much from our power play, which killed our momentum a bit," added Jordan Eberle, who had an assist in the loss. "And they got two power-play goals, which hurt us too. It was a great challenge for us, and I don't think it was our best."
As hot as the Jackets were heading into the game, the Oilers were also playing well with just two regulation losses in their last 14 contests.
The much-anticipated showdown lived up to its billing through the opening 10 minutes, with both the Oilers and Jackets sustaining periods of offensive pressure, registering four shots apiece. Cam Talbot and Sergei Bobrovsky were flawless in the early stages.
The second half of the opening frame shifted heavily in the home team's favour, however, and resulted in the game's first goal. With Jesse Puljujärvi in the penalty box for holding, Cam Atkinson banked a shot off Kris Russell's stick and Andrej Sekera's leg to beat Talbot for a fortunate power-play marker.
The old adage 'you have to be good to be lucky' proved true on the play, as Columbus' leading scorer added another one in the goal column for his 18th tally and 38th point. The Jackets outshot the Oilers 8-0 through the final 10 minutes of the first to take a 12-4 advantage into the intermission.
The Oilers did a great job tilting the momentum back in their favour to start the middle frame, drawing a penalty just 24 seconds into the period. They were unable to convert on the man advantage, but the PP pushed them back in a positive direction and they were able to break their goose egg a few minutes later.
Oscar Klefbom evened the score at 1-1 at the 5:39 mark of the second, cutting to the slot on a rush, taking a feed from Patrick Maroon and flicking a wrist shot through Bobrovsky's pads for his career-best sixth of the season. Maroon got his 18th point on the helper, while Eberle also assisted for his 26th point.
The tie was short-lived, though, as the home side struck again on the PP to go up 2-1. With Brandon Davidson in the box for holding, Brandon Saad slid a cross-zone feed over to William Karlsson, and he blasted a one-timer past Talbot a split-second before the goalie could dart across his crease. The go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner was Karlsson's sixth of the season.
An Oilers turnover in their defensive zone led to an optimal scoring chance for the Jackets to extend their lead with six minutes to go in the period, but Talbot flashed the leather on a mesh-seeking Alex Wennberg wrist shot to keep the score 2-1. Columbus held the one-goal cushion through 40 minutes.
The Jackets did eventually end up securing a 3-1 lead and insurance goal 2:45 into the third period when Nick Foligno intercepted a pass and rifled a wrist shot that caught a piece of Talbot's shoulder but found the back of the net for his 13th of the season.
Talbot did his part to keep the game close, making another fantastic sliding pad stop on Jack Johnson midway through the final frame. Columbus locked it down on D in the third, though, preserving their 16th straight win. Two of those victories have now come against Edmonton in matching 3-1 decisions.
"You can see everything is flowing in the right direction for them," said Milan Lucic. "It's easy to say that they're getting the bounces and all that type of stuff, but they're working hard for those bounces and making it happen. That's when you get the bounces going your way."
Edmonton's road trip continues Thursday night in Boston as Lucic will face his former Bruins squad for the first time as a member of the Oilers. It'll also be a homecoming for President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, who spent nine years with the New England hockey club.