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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Blue Jackets

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Despite being out-shot by a 23-13 margin after one period of play, Nikolai Khabibulin's 21 opening frame saves allowed the Oilers to go into the intermission with a 3-2 lead. Goals by Linus Omark, Jordan Eberle and Dustin Penner provided the offensive support in a period where the Oilers' guns capitalized on their chances.

With the go-ahead goal scored at 19:29 of the first period, the Oilers secured momentum and good vibes that rolled into the middle frame. 14 shots on goal and an additional three goals vaulted the hometown club into commanding control of the game. Columbus added a late marker near the conclusion of the third period, as Kristian Huselius recorded his hat-trick goal.

But it was too little too late, as the Oilers cruised to a 6-3 thumping of the visiting Blue Jackets.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

With the game tied 2-2 late in the first period and an incredible disprepancy featured on the shot clock, the Oilers had an opportunity to skate into the intermission with a powerplay marker. Dustin Penner made good, cashing on a beautifully orchestrated play by rookies Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark. Penner's goal put the Oilers up 3-2 at 19:29 of the first, and sucked the life from a Blue Jackets team that controlled the play for much of the opening frame. Although the Oilers trailed 23-13 on the shot clock, they now had the lead as the offensive showcase was just getting started.

47 The Oilers won 47% of the draws tonight. Colin Fraser and Dustin Penner led the way for the Oilers with 70% and 75% efficiency rates respectively.
11 Five rookies were in Edmonton's lineup tonight, and all of them factored into the scoring. Combined, the freshmen put up an impressive 11 points.
76 With the Oilers struggling to get many shots on goal in recent games, the team made a concentrated effort on that tonight. Both teams combined to throw 76 shots on goal; Edmonton recorded 36, while Columbus put up 40.
24 With another two added to his total tonight, Ryan Whitney has now recorded 24 assists on the season.

Linus Omark
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 +2 2

Jordan Eberle  
G A P +/- Shots
2 0 2 +2 5

Taylor Hall
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 +3 2

Steve Mason
27 21 6 40:00 .778

Nikolai Khabibulin
40 37 3 58:58 .925

Fedor Tyutin - D

21:44 - 0P, -1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

23:03 - 0P, E rating

With a two-point game already on the sheet for Swedish sensation Linus Omark, the highly-skilled forward dazzled again to help put the Oilers up 5-2 late in the middle frame. He and Magnus Paajarvi bolted up the ice where Omark then took control. As he took possession at the offensive blueline, he flipped the puck in the air to beat a Columbus defender. He skated around the check and regained possession just inside the line, where he then directed a shot on goal that was cashed by fellow Swede Magnus Paajarvi; a tremendous display of skill and athleticism.

Linus Omark opened the night by scoring his first career NHL goal. As it turned out, this was just the appetizer as the display of high skill improved throughout the night. Omark followed up his goal with an additional two points, as he assisted on second period goals by Dustin Penner and Magnus Paajarvi. After a stunning first game, Omark went silent for a pair of contests before his MVP-like performance this evening; a game that couldn't possibly have gone better for the young rookie.

With the Oilers' young guns were out to feast against the struggling Blue Jackets, Nikolai Khabibulin had perhaps the most important role on the night. The Oilers trailed 23-13 in shots after one period and the Oilers netminder turned 21 of them aside. The Oilers escaped the first period with a 3-2 lead and control of the game with the momentum and Rexall Place energy firmly in hand. It was an excellent night for Khabibulin who continues to play incredibly strong following his injury.

Zack Stortini has made the most of his inclusion in the lineup after having been scratched in the early portions of the six-game homestand. Stortini involved himself again, as he participated in a lengthy bout with Jackets forward Tom Sestito. The pair went toe-to-toe for well over a minute and were nearly stopped by the linesmen, but the two continued to chuck bombs. The officials eventually stepped away and the two tough men carried on with the fight that brought the Rexall Place crowd to its feet.

In tonight's game, the Oilers had five rookies dressed. All five (Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Ryan O'Marra and Jordan Eberle) got on the scoresheet to collectively record an impressive 11 points.

"It's definitely a good feeling. We felt like the last two games -- Vancouver especially -- we didn't play very well. We wanted to have a good night tonight and we did a lot of good things, so it's definitely a good feeling to come away with a win here."

Sam Gagner on the win over Columbus

Tuesday, December 21 at San Jose
  8:30 pm MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

With a dominating 6-2 win over the Blue Jackets, the Oilers will now get a few days off before beginning a pre-holiday road trip that begins Tuesday in San Jose.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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