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Oilers blanked 4-0 by Blue Jackets

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The best chance in the opening four minutes went to Marc-Antoine Pouliot as he knocked down a shot by Ladislav Smid.

A minute later, Jarret Stoll skated himself into a shooting lane with Blue Jackets starting netminder Fredrik Norrena out of position but his wrister from the right circle was blocked in the crease by the skate of defenceman Anders Eriksson.

Shortly after that chance, Sykora just missed the net on a one-time blast from the slot as Edmonton continued to put the pressure on Columbus.

Almost nine minutes into the game, Columbus struck for the first goal of the night. Jaroslav Balastik found Alexander Svitov open in the high slot and his wrister beat Roloson five hole.

Some great work down low by the line of Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Toby Petersen and Jean-Francois Jacques led to Columbus taking their first penalty of the night. Rostislav Klesla was sent off for high sticking, putting Edmonton up a man.

Columbus was able to kill off that penalty and the Oilers in-turn killed off a penalty of their own a couple minutes after that.

Following 20 minutes of hockey, shots on goal were 7-6 Edmonton but Columbus had a one-goal lead.

22 seconds into period two, David Vyborny received a pair of penalties - for holding and boarding - to put Edmonton on the power play for four full minutes. However, the Oilers were unable to find their rhythm on the power play thanks in part to the loss of Ryan Smyth due to a fractured hand the period before.

Midway through the second, while the Oilers were killing a penalty, Dwayne Roloson chopped at Rick Nash as the Jackets forward was crowding the crease. Nash went down like he was shot and Roloson took a slashing penalty as a result.

Miraculously, Nash was back on the ice about 15 seconds later during the Jackets two-man advantage. He had a scoring chance in front as he tried to use his reach to get the puck past Roloson but the Oilers netminder kicked his leg out to make the save.

With 14 seconds left in the Roloson penalty, Ron Hainsey fired a shot from the right point that rang off the post. The puck sat in the crease and before Roloson could pounce on it, Gilbert Brule swooped in to tap it in the net.

1:31 later, Tjarnqvist tried to corral a shot from Jason Chimera in front but it bounced off his stick to Anson Carter. Carter made no mistake, putting the puck in off the far right post just out of the reach of Roloson.

With a minute left in the period, Roloson made a big stop to keep the game close. Columbus had a three-on-one and Brule elected to shoot. Roloson challenged the shooter and managed to make the save without giving up a rebound.

Shots after two periods were 20-12 in favour of Columbus.

In an effort to spark his club, head coach Craig McTavish subbed in goaltender Jussi Markkanen to start period three.

Joffrey Lupul almost broke Norrena's shutout bid with 8:30 to go in the third. He had a wide-open net with Norrena way over on the other side but his shot went wide across the goalmouth.

The Oilers were still unable to score by the 12:30 mark of period three but had come to life somewhat with a 7-1 edge in shots in the final frame to that point.

In the latter half of the period, MacTavish started mixing up the lines somewhat. Toby Petersen even took several shifts on defence.

Fritsche added an empty-netter with a minute left to make the final 4-0.

NOTES: Ryan Smyth left the game in the first period with a fractured right thumb and did not return... The shutout was Norrena's first in his NHL career.
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