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Blue Jackets steal point from Oilers in shootout

Taylor Hall returned to the Edmonton Oilers line up from his brief hamstring injury and Mike Brown made his Oilers debut after being acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But it was a goaltending change early in the second period by the Columbus Blue Jackets that made the difference in a wide-open tilt between the last-place Blue Jackets and the not-too-far-ahead Oilers.

 

After Magnus Paajarvi scored his fourth goal of the season to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead just 31 seconds into the second period, Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky came off the bench to replace Steve Mason, who let in three goals on eight shots. Bobrovsky let nothing by him and Jack Johnson cranked in the equalizer halfway through the second period to even the score at three.

 

The Blue Jackets were the better team in the third period and the Oilers couldn’t get their powerplay organized. Devan Dubnyk made some brilliant saves to keep the score tied and the game eventually went into overtime.

 

Only 25 seconds into the extra frame, the Oilers were given a gift when Blue Jackets defenseman Nick Foligno took a penalty for closing his hand on the puck. On the four-on-three man advantage, Oilers forward Jordan Eberle had a couple great chances to end the game, but Bobrovsky stopped him both times with a couple desperation saves. Bobrovsky slid from post to post to stop the first chance with his pad and, moments later, he dove across the crease to catch a piece of Eberle’s wrister.

 

“I just tried to calm the puck down.” Eberle told edmontonoilers.com after the game. “It was rolling a bit. He made a good save. I got it up maybe not as far as I wanted to but he made a great save.”

Blue Jackets steal point from Oilers in shootout
Derek Mackenzie of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates past Ryan Whitney of the Edmonton Oilers to beat Devan Dubnyk of the Edmonton Oilers for a goal during the first period on March 5, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.
(Kirk Irwin, Getty Images)

After both teams failed to find the twine in the overtime period, the game went to a shootout, in which Bobrovsky stopped attempts by Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner and Blue Jackets shooters Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu beat Dubnyk with quick shots to steal a point from the Oilers and win the game 4-3.

 

“We had our chances in overtime,” head coach Ralph Krueger said. “Usually Ebs would be able to bury those.”

“It just seems to be one of those things … getting the shots when we have opportunities is something we still need to continue to work on.”

 

The Blue Jackets outshot the Oilers 38-29 and beat the Oilers for the sixth time in the last eight matchups between the two teams in Columbus. Shots on goal are a huge problem for the Oilers right now. The Oilers give up an average of 34 shots on goal per game, that’s the most in the league. And when you combine that statistic with producing the least amount of five-on-five goals, the Oilers continue to play with fire and lessen the team’s chance of, at the very least, making a push for the playoffs.

 

That’s what the fans are expecting. However, now that the Oilers have lost a must win game against the worst team in the league, they cannot afford to lose the next few games of this road trip. But it won’t get any easier for the Oilers with back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators on Thursday and Friday.

 

Evan Davits

Evan Davits

I grew up playing hockey on the roads, outdoor rinks, and ice surfaces of various arenas in Edmonton and around Northern Alberta. Now, I am a father of three and a journalism student at MacEwan University in Edmonton. My words are often brutally honest and critical; however, I have never been the type to shy away from sarcasm and humour.
Evan Davits
Evan Davits

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