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EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 5, Blue Jackets 1 | Box Score
The National Hockey League was coming off a full-season lockout when teams returned to the ice for the 2005-06 season. After a three-game win streak to begin the year, Edmonton dropped their next seven games (0-6-1). However, the Oilers were able to find their scoring touch on the back-end of a three-game road trip, scoring 10 goals against Dallas and Nashville and winning both matches.
With a chance to reach the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 20, the Oilers returned home to face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first of four meetings of the season.
Jussi Markkanen was coming off a 23-save performance against the Predators and replicated his efforts to earn his fifth win of the young season. Markkanen would go on to record a career-high in wins (15) despite having a save percentage below .900 for the first time in his career (.880 Sv%). The goaltender also went on to make six appearances in the Stanley Cup Final (3-3-0) after Dwayne Roloson went down with a knee injury in Game 1 versus the Hurricanes.
Ales Hemsky put two pucks past Marc Denis, scoring his second and third goals of the season, including the game-winning goal 2:55 into the middle frame. The winger would break out in his third season with the club achieving a career-high 77 points. In his first two campaigns, Hemsky scored 64 points (18G, 46A) combined.
Raffi Torres continued his red-hot start after scoring Edmonton's fourth goal of the game. In 10 games, the 2000 first-round pick (fifth overall) had eight goals - the best start of his career - and proceeded to amass 27 goals and 41 points, both career-highs. The Toronto, Ontario native added four goals and seven assists during Edmonton's magical run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.
Chris Pronger was another Oiler to enjoy a multiple-point night against the Jackets, recording primary assists on both of Hemsky's markers. The defenceman played 25:59 on the night - a full two minutes shorter than his season average. In his first and only season with the club, Pronger was an alternate captain and led the Oilers in playoff scoring with 21 points (5G, 16A in 24 GP).
Todd Harvey opened the scoring 9:07 into the hockey game for his first goal in an Oiler uniform. The 05-06 campaign marked Harvey's first and only season with the club and the final season of his NHL career. The winger registered five goals, two assists in 63 games before playing his final NHL game in Game 7 of the Cup Finals.
A total of eleven Oilers recorded at least one point for Edmonton's third-consecutive win, including Marc-Andre Bergeron, Cory Cross, Shawn Horcoff, Georges Laraque, Ryan Smyth, Steve Staios and Jarret Stoll.
The victory was Edmonton's second of three four-goal wins on the season. The Oilers went on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues to extend their winning streak to five - the first of two five-game winning streaks in 05-06.