|CBJ||2||2||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|EDM||1||2||3||(0 - 0)||6|
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Columbus was up 4-1 midway through Thursday night's contest, but nobody could anticipate the effect Edmonton's top line -- Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner, and Ales Hemsky -- could have on the game's bottom line. In the final 28 minutes, the trio produced three more goals and assisted on one other, resulting in a five-point night for Penner and Hemsky and three-point outings for Gagner and defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky.
For his impressive play-making abilities and two goals (including the game-tyer midway through the third), Penner was awarded first star and honoured by fans with a standing ovation and rousing chant as the team left the ice with a 6-4 win.
Penner and Hemsky's accomplishments marked the first time since March that two NHL teammates shared five-point nights (Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Staal for Carolina in Tampa Bay). The last time two Oilers accomplished such a feat was November 19, 1988 when Glenn Anderson and Jimmy Carson tallied five points each in Toronto.
Former Oiler Mathieu Garon got the start for the Blue Jackets, and less than one minute in, he got a rude welcome back from youngster Gagner. After receiving a sneaky backhand pass from Penner on Garon's blocker side, Gagner dug deep and wristed the puck top shelf to give the Oil an early 1-0 lead.
Edmonton owned the shot clock following the goal, but with seven minutes left in the frame, Columbus countered by swarming goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and adding three attempts to their tally.
Three minutes later, the Jackets assumed the shot lead and tied up the game. Although Khabibulin stopped Jakub Voracek's initial attempt, the rebound went from Kristian Huselius' stick to the inside of the right post, evening the score at one.
Shortly after the goal, Michael Blunden was called for tripping and the Oilers went on the powerplay, but only 45 seconds into the man-advantage, Penner took an interference minor and eight skaters resumed the battle.
Although four-on-four passed without a goal, the tie game was quickly interrupted. With only 10 seconds left in Penner's penalty and 23 on the clock, Raffi Torres got the go-ahead powerplay goal to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
630 CHED's Dan Tencer talks to Sam Gagner after the first period
Two minutes into the middle frame, Huselius and Voracek joined forces to double Columbus' lead. Voracek sent a cross-ice pass over to his soaring line-mate, and Huselius slapped the one-timer past Khabibulin to set the score at 3-1.
Consecutive Oilers infractions kept the home team on the penalty kill for nearly four straight minutes, and the 'Bulin Wall withstood the Blue Jackets attack and kept his club within two.
Although a second powerplay goal eluded the Jackets, a third even-strenth marker hit the back of the net when Jason Chimera fooled Khabibulin at 11:52. But 17 seconds later, Edmonton's top line teamed up to get that one back with a give-and-take play that concluded with Penner's sixth of the year.
Following the goals, Columbus decided to examine the 'H' section of the rule book -- high-sticking, hooking and holding, specifically -- to give Edmonton three straight powerplays, including a 17-second five-on-three.
The Oilers couldn't capitalize on the two-man-advantage, but 12 seconds later, Hemsky cradled the puck and patiently fired past Garon to get his team within one and vault himself and Penner into the game's three-point category.
After 40 minutes, the Oilers were up one shot (22-21) but trailed 4-3.
A second high-sticking minor to the Jackets four minutes into the final frame put the Oilers back on the powerplay. After producing three goals so far in the game, Penner, Hemsky, and Gagner went for number four -- and got it.
From 30 feet out, Penner snapped the puck past Garon for his second goal of the game and fourth point. The impressive display prompted Oilers fans to salute him with a standing ovation and produce the loudest, ear-piercing cheer of the year so far.
In the final 10 minutes of regulation and momentum on their side, that top line renewed the Oilers' early lead, but with a twist. With help from Penner and Hemsky, Visnovsky one-timed the go-ahead goal past Garon to put the Oilers up 5-4. The goal gave Visnovsky two points on the night, while his play-making pals notched their fifth points each.
The Oilers hit 30 shots soon after the goal, but a fourth Blue Jackets powerplay helped the visitors tally 32 soon after. The powerplay tables turned in the final three minutes of regulation, and with Chimera in the penalty box and Garon out of his net, Robert Nilsson floated the puck in on the empty net to seal a 6-4 win for the Oilers.
|Sam Gagner (4) ASST: Dustin Penner (5), Ales Hemsky (5)|
1 - 0 EDM
|Kristian Huselius (3) ASST: Jakub Voracek (3), Antoine Vermette (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Raffi Torres (4) ASST: R.J. Umberger (2), Anton Stralman (2)|
2 - 1 CBJ
|Kristian Huselius (4) ASST: Jakub Voracek (4), Mathieu Roy (4)|
3 - 1 CBJ
|Jason Chimera (3) ASST: Samuel Pahlsson (3), Derek Dorsett (1)|
4 - 1 CBJ
|Dustin Penner (6) ASST: Ales Hemsky (6), Sam Gagner (3)|
4 - 2 CBJ
|PPG - Ales Hemsky (2) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (4), Dustin Penner (6)|
4 - 3 CBJ
|PPG - Dustin Penner (7) ASST: Ales Hemsky (7), Sam Gagner (4)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Lubomir Visnovsky (2) ASST: Dustin Penner (7), Ales Hemsky (8)|
5 - 4 EDM
|PPG - EN - Robert Nilsson (1) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (5), Ladislav Smid (4)|
6 - 4 EDM
|Mike Blunden Tripping against Robert Nilsson|
|Dustin Penner Interference - Goalkeeper against Marc Methot|
|Ladislav Smid Unsportsmanlike conduct against Derek Dorsett|
|Derek Dorsett Unsportsmanlike conduct against Ladislav Smid|
|Ethan Moreau Roughing against Derek Dorsett|
|Lubomir Visnovsky Holding against Derek Dorsett|
|Kris Russell Hi-sticking against Jean-Francois Jacques|
|Jason Chimera Hooking against Andrew Cogliano|
|Marc Methot Holding against Robert Nilsson|
|Derek Dorsett Hi-sticking against Denis Grebeshkov|
|Nikolai Khabibulin Tripping against Jason Chimera|
|Raffi Torres Elbowing against Tom Gilbert|
|Jason Chimera Elbowing against Denis Grebeshkov|