EDMONTON, AB -
Pure dominance could be the words used to describe the performance of the Edmonton Oilers as they bucked the trend of offensive struggles at home, putting up seven goals in a 7-0 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, which moved the team to 6-15-2.
"We need more nights like that," said Oilers winger David Perron. "Not necessarily that score, but that type of effort from all four lines, 6 (defencemen) and the goalie and I think it's something we're capable of in this room. We've got to get that winning feeling every night."
In pre-game, Oilers players stressed the need to get out to an fast start and early.
At the 2:37 mark of the opening frame, the Oilers accomplished something they haven't since October 27. After nine straight games allowing the opponent to score first, the Oilers were the team to open the scoring.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fanned on a shot in close on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, then gathered the puck and passed it out to Corey Potter at the point. The defenceman shot the puck hard just inside the blue line and Bobrovsky's kick save and rebound was put in backdoor by Jordan Eberle
Eberle's goal was his sixth on the season and his 17th point overall.
"It was big," Edmonton defenceman Justin Schultz said of getting the first goal. "We kept rolling. It was just a good effort all around tonight."
The Oilers would score again on their first power play opportunity of the evening as Nick Foligno was sent to the sin bin for interference. Nail Yakupov drifted in from the boards and shot the puck, deflecting it off of David Perron's skate. A rebound sat next to Bobrovsky until Perron whacked at the loose puck and buried it for the 2-0 lead.
The dominating first period continued as Edmonton's Ales Hemsky found Sam Gagner, blocker side of Bobrovsky, at the goal line. Gagner saucer-passed the puck to Ryan Smyth, who batted it out of mid-air and in. It was the Oilers' second power play goal of the night, making it 3-0 for the home team.
"I think he was just trying to get it out and over," Smyth said of Gagner's pass. "He's a nifty player. He's got some great skill and I was just fortunate enough to get it out of the air."
Smyth's goal was his 123rd career power play goal, putting him two back of Wayne Gretzky for second all-time in Oilers history. Glen Anderson holds the all-time record at 126.
As the buzzer sounded to end the first period, the Oilers had scored three goals while Columbus had mustered just three total shots.
With 11:30 left in the second period, Boyd Gordon won a draw in the offensive zone, freeing the puck to Smyth who passed it off to Perron. The Oilers winger looped around the far circle and then nailed a shot, top-shelf over the far-side shoulder of Bobrovsky. With the goal, the Oilers took the 4-0 lead and Perron moved into the team lead in goal scoring with seven on the season.
Columbus would pull Bobrovsky from net to be replaced by Curtis McElhinney.
The change in goal didn't stymie the Oilers attack as Perron unleashed a heavy shot on McElhinney at 10:36 of the period. The rebound found Yakupov waiting along the blocker side of the Blue Jackets' goalie and the young Russian hammered it home to give Edmonton the commanding 5-0 lead.
Yakupov, who made headlines for his slow start to the season and his public comments regarding a lack of ice time, has steadily shown improvement in production. That goal was his fifth point in the last five games, stretching his point-scoring streak to three straight. He now has three goals in the last five games and eight points on the season.
At 15:25 of the middle frame, Smyth found Perron streaking up the middle. Perron drew in the Columbus defence and found, his own defenceman, Justin Schultz all alone. Schultz, in his first game back from a groin injury, finished on the great pass and put the Oilers up 6-0. Perron's helper was his fourth point on the night. It was also the first four-point night of the season for an Edmonton skater.
"We wanted to play a full 60," said Schultz. "That's one thing, this year, we haven't been doing. We wanted to put a full 60 together and give us some confidence going forward and try to get on a roll."
Taylor Hall gave the Oilers a whopping 7-0 lead when he slid the puck under the pad of McElhinney on a breakaway. Eberle earned the assist at 16:43 of the third period.
"Not being ready," Columbus Head Coach Todd Richards said of the loss. "Probably coming in and thinking maybe this was going to be an easier game, not giving the respect due to the Edmonton Oilers, not giving the respect due to hockey. We weren't ready to play, we weren't ready to battle. Some of that is my responsibility… I don't know if this is a team that can handle success."
Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk was rarely tested in the game, but stopped 14 pucks in his first shutout of the season.