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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Blue Jackets

by Karmela Arocena / Edmonton Oilers

After coming off a 2-1 shootout victory Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators, the Oilers were looking to continue their winning ways on Fan Appreciation Night with a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets before embarking on a five game road trip on Saturday.  With Ales Hemsky out for 2-3 weeks and Dustin Penner leaving via a trade, the rest of the team had to step up and fill the scoring void left by these players.

Out of the gate, the Oilers looked slow and sloppy, giving up quality chances to the Blue Jackets. A few lucky bounces and timely saves by Devan Dubnyk kept it scoreless while the Oilers tried to regroup.  A fight by Jason Strudwick at 5:45 into the first seemed to spark the team as they started to put more pressure onto their opponent after that. After a Blue Jackets goal got called off, the Oilers earned a powerplay opportunity and Sam Gagner capitlized with the man advantage to make it 1-0.  Taylor Hall scored his 22nd goal of the season a few minutes later to make it 2-0 and the Oilers ended the period with a two goal advantage.

Momentum continued into the second period for the Oilers where Jordan Eberle scored just 14 seconds into the frame, causing the Blue Jackets to pull goalie Steve Mason for former Oiler Mathieu Garon.  Shortly after pulling the goalie, the Blue Jackets did get one back with a goal from Matt Calvert, but the Oilers were able to maintain a two goal lead heading into the third, thanks in large part to some stellar play by Devan Dubnyk who came up big when he had to.

The Blue Jackets scored a late goal in the third to make it 3-2 and continued to add pressure to tie it.  However, Andrew Cogliano was able to score an empty net goal, sealing the 4-2 win for the Oilers.

Shawn Horcoff's assist on Eberle's second period goal was his 400th career NHL point.  Devan Dubnyk was back between the pipes tonight and stopped 26 of 28 and had a .929 save percentage.  Taylor Hall also left the game in the second period with an ankle injury.

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

The Oilers started the game off slow, showing miscues and sloppy play, evident when they were being outshot 6-0 just 5:45 into the contest. The Blue Jackets had thought they scored the game's first goal midway through the first, but it was waived off due to a goalie interference penalty which saw the Oilers earn a powerplay opportunity.  Sam Gagner was able to score the game's first goal with the man advantage, which set the Oilers on a roll to a win.

38 The Oilers were only able to come up with a 38% efficiency rate in faceoffs tonight.  Andrew Cogliano had the best night in the faceoff dot tonight, winning seven of 15 draws for a 47% rating.
4 Tonight's win marks only the fourth time the Oilers had managed a victory when outshooting their opponent.  Prior to this game, the team was 3-11-2 when outshooting their opponent.
8 Of the 38 shots that hit the net tonight for the Oilers, Kurtis Foster took eight of them; the most of anyone on the team.
6 Once again, Gilbert Brule is playing a physical game.  He amassed six hits for the second straight game, 1/3 of the total hits for the team in tonight's game.

Taylor Hall
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 2

Devan Dubnyk
28 26 2 59:19 .929

Shawn Horcoff
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 +2 2

Steve Mason
14 11 3 20:14 .786

Devan Dubnyk
28 26 2 59:19 .929

Fedor Tyutin - D

24:42 - 0p, -1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

27:28 - 1P, +2 rating

A lucky call that saw the Oilers go on a powerplay instead of going down 1-0 was the starting point to the play of the game.  After going on the man advantage, the Oilers were able to set up in the Blue Jackets zone.  Magnus Paajarvi received the puck from Tom Gilbert, and the Swedish rookie was able to feed the puck to an open Sam Gagner.  Gagner then sniped the puck past Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason, putting the Oilers up a goal.

Despite leaving the game in the second with an ankle injury, Taylor Hall dominated when he was on the ice tonight.  The rookie forward had a multi-point night, first scoring a goal to make the game 2-0, and then assisting on Jordan Eberle's game winning goal.  He also got into a fight with Derek Dorsett in the second period.  The spirited play and Gordie Howe hat trick was recognized by all as he was the first star of the game.

Much of what Devan Dubnyk did tonight was shadowed by the offensive output and explosiveness that was seen by the young stars on the Oilers.  However, in his return to the net, Dubnyk played solid and was the reason the Oilers led the entire game.  He frustrated Blue Jackets players when they started the game outshooting the Oilers, and the effort continued throughout 60 minutes of play.  Not only that, but he also stymied an RJ Umberger penalty shot in the first period.

Taylor Hall's multi-point night is not unexpected due to his status of being the first overall draft pick.  However, tonight he did more than help put pucks in the net.  Right after being stopped on a glorious chance just after coming out of the penalty box, Hall dropped the gloves with Derek Dorsett.  The spontaneous fight that erupted in the middle of play saw the rookie land a few good hits before both players fell to the ice.  The crowd at Rexall Place never stopped cheering on the youngster, as he completed the Gordie Howe hat trick.

There is no denying that when Taylor Hall is having a good night, so are the Oilers.  When Hall has a multi-point game, such as tonight, the Oilers have failed to lose in regulation.  Their record is 8-0-1 when he has a multi-point game.

"It's bad luck I had to leave the game because of the fight, but I'd probably do it again if I had to."

- Taylor Hall on his second period fight against Derek Dorsett.

Saturday, March 5 at Colorado
  8:00pm MST (CBC / 630 CHED)

After finishing up a four game homestand, the Oilers are back on the road on Saturday night in Colorado to take on the Avalanche.  It's the first of a five game road trip for the Oilers, and all the action can be seen on CBC at 8:00pm MST.

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