Oilers lead slips away, Jackets win 4-3
|Edmonton's Theo Peckham attempts to keep the puck away from Columbus' Samuel Pahlsson Saturday, Feb. 5 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Despite jumping ahead to an early 2-0 lead and carrying a 3-2 lead into the final 10 minutes of regulation, the Oilers lost their grip on the win and suffered a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jackets Saturday night. The line of Magnus Paajarvi
, Linus Omark
, and Sam Gagner
produced two of Edmonton's goals, while Nikolai Khabibulin
finished with 30 saves.
Under the Scope
Just over two minutes after opening puck drop, Magnus Paajarvi
registered the game's first shot and goal. Thanks to a perfect seeing-eye feed from Linus Omark
, Paajarvi made the most of his position beside goalie Steve Mason by tapping in the opener.
Three minutes later, coincidental slashing minors to Jim Vandermeer
and Derek Dorsett prompted two minutes of four-on-four. The stretch passed without incident.
The same could not be said after both teams returned to full strength. At 7:44, Dustin Penner
received the puck in the mid-slot and wired it over Mason's blocker to set the score 2-0 in Edmonton's favour.
Shortly after the goal, the Oilers were put on the disadvantage when Ladislav Smid
was called for high-sticking. Nikolai Khabibulin
did a commendable job of protecting the lead and soon watched his skaters draw two consecutive penalties.
The power-plays failed to produce a third-goal, however, and the Blue Jackets pounced. With just under six minutes remaining in the period, RJ Umberger fooled Khabibulin with a wrist-shot to get his club back within one.
A second penalty to Vandermeer, this time for cross-checking, concluded the first-period infractions. After 20 minutes, the Oilers held a slim 2-1 lead but were even with the Jackets with 10 shots.
3:18 into the middle frame, Columbus' Rick Nash and Derick Brassard gifted Edmonton a two-minute two-man-advantage by taking goaltender interference and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Oilers managed three shots on the power-play, all of which were matched with a Masonic save.
One more visiting power-play at the game's midway point helped the Oilers attain an 18-15 shot lead, but the Jackets were the next to get one through. With help from Umberger and Grant Clitsome, Kristian Huselius slipped the puck past Khabibulin to tie the game 2-2 at 14:35.
The score stuck until the buzzer, pushing the stalemate into the third period.
The Jackets attacked early in the third, testing Khabibulin with five shots in less than three minutes. But once the Oilers settled into the offensive zone, they got a goal that was remarkably similar to their first. From the left side, Omark directed a bang-on pass to Paajarvi on the opposite corner of the net, who flipped it past Mason to renew the visiting lead.
With 9:32 remaining in regulation, Andrew Cogliano
was assessed two minutes for interference and the Blue Jackets embarked on their third power-play. The home team swarmed on the man-advantage, but Khabibulin and his right post frustrated hometown fans.
Their frustration was short-lived, however. After Cogliano completed his sentence, Umberger wristed the puck into the net to even the score for a second time. 2:16 later, Huselius joined the two-goal group, giving the Jackets their first lead with four minutes left in regulation.
Edmonton pulled Khabibulin for the final 74 seconds, but the extra attacker couldn't create an extra goal and the team suffered a 4-3 loss.
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