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Oilers defeat Blue Jackets 4-1

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Coach Craig MacTavish made some roster moves in this game, re-inserting defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist into the lineup and taking out Marc-Andre Bergeron. MacTavish also sat forward J-F Jacques as Marty Reasoner drew back in after missing Wednesday's game with an ankle injury.

The new line of Toby Petersen, Petr Sykora and Ales Hemsky came flying right out of the gate. Petersen bolted down the right side and backhanded a shot that Blue Jackets starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire stopped.

Columbus started to pick up some momentum following the opening minute, firing the next four shots of the game on Roloson. However, each shots came from outside the circles and weren't too threatening.

Just past the midway point of the first, both teams traded chances. First Smyth set up Stoll in the slot but Leclaire made a nice save. The play went back the other way with Rick Nash and Fredrik Modin on a two-on-one. Nash set up Modin who wired it but Roloson made a nice glove save to keep the game scoreless.

After the whistle, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and Joffrey Lupul dropped the gloves. The two each threw some clean punches at one another but neither could be crowned the victor.

Raffi Torres was denied late in the period after a nice pass from Lupul set him up in front of the net. Torres tried to get the puck around Leclaire but the Blue Jackets goaltender made the stop.

Shots on goal after one period were 9-8 for Edmonton.

Anson Carter almost opened the scoring early in the second but his open-net chance was denied when Jason Smith slid across the crease to block the shot.

Coming back the other way, Ales Hemsky broke into the open after taking an outlet pass from Petersen and flicked a wrister from the right hash marks behind Leclaire to make it 1-0 Oilers.

Less than two minutes later, Lupul let go a wrister from the left circle that Leclaire got a piece of but not enough as it trickled just over the goal line.

Ladislav Smid was checked from behind by Alexander Svitov into the boards. After the hit, Patrick came in and challenged the Russian forward to a fight. It was Thoresen's first fight in the NHL, though he did battle Mike Comrie in the preseason.

The result on the play was two minutes for instigating on Thoresen, plus two additional minutes for instigating with a visor. Svitov got five for boarding and both players got fight for fighting.

Just after the penalty to Svitov expired, Ryan Smyth picked up a loose puck in the Columbus crease and slid it past Leclaire to move the Oilers' lead to 3-0.

Columbus got that goal back on the powerplay several minutes later. Anson Carter chopped a one-timer from the right circle over the shoulder of Roloson to bring his team back within a pair of goals.

Shots after 40 minutes were 23-21 in favour of Edmonton.

Early in the third, Brad Winchester made a nice play to get around a Jackets defender who went down to block a shot before centering the puck to Smyth in the slot. Smyth made no mistake, slipping it past Leclaire to increase Edmonton's lead to 4-1.

Hemsky almost made it a four-goal lead on the tail end of an Oilers power play but Leclaire came across to glove the puck in what was his nicest save of the night.
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