Created on Friday, 29 March 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — After being booed out of their own building the last time they played at home, the Edmonton Oilers left their fans in much higher spirits on Thursday night.
Ales Hemsky scored the go-ahead goal with 3:08 remaining to lead the Edmonton Oilers to their second straight victory, 6-4 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Shortly after a huge save by goalie Devan Dubnyk, Hemsky took the puck down the length of the ice and danced around several defenders before getting a highlight-reel goal past Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
"With the mistakes we made, finding a way to stay in it and continue to push and shut it down in the third, it's a good feeling," said Sam Gagner, who recorded his 250th NHL point at the age of 23. "It was definitely nice to get this win. We need to find ways to win here at home and playing with energy and creating chances for ourselves. When we do that you can see how loud it gets in this building."
Gagner had a goal and three assists to help the Oilers move into a tie for 11th place in the Western Conference with Columbus. Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle, Shawn Horcoff and Corey Pottera also scored.
"It took a lot of character to win this game," said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger. "It took a lot of guts to keep digging out of the holes we put ourselves in. In the end we are very happy with this win."
Cam Atkinson scored a pair the Blue Jackets, who have lost three in a row after going 8-0-4 in their previous 12 games. Matt Calvert and Artem Anisimov had the other goals.
"It was an abnormal game for us," said Columbus assistant captain Jack Johnson. "We don't usually score that many and we don't usually give up that many goals. It was frustrating to lose after so many guys worked so hard. As a team, if you give up that many goals, though, you can't expect to win."
It didn't take long at all for Columbus to start the scoring in this one.
The Jackets led 1-0 just 10 seconds in after Calvert got to a puck along the side boards and quickly dished it in front for Atkinson, who beat Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to the glove side with the first shot of the game. The goal tied for the fastest to start a game in Blue Jackets history.
The duo combined for another goal 12 minutes into the opening period to give Columbus a 2-0 lead. Atkinson fed Calvert on a 2-on-1 and he lifted a shot over Khabibulin.
Edmonton got one back with 5 minutes to play in the first when Paajarvi picked off a soft Gagner shot in front of the net and hooked it behind Bobrovsky.
The Oilers tied the game 2-2 with an early goal to start the second. Eberle moved around defender Fedor Tyutin and slid the puck under the pads of Bobrovsky for his 10th of the season just 39 seconds into the period.
Columbus looked to have tied the game with 2½ minutes to play in the second. Khabibulin bobbled a high shot and Calvert slid into the net feet first and knocked the puck in while being hauled down by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, upon video review, it was determined that Calvert directed the puck in with his skate on the play.
The Blue Jackets quickly recovered, though, scoring just a minute later when Anisimov unleashed a high wrist shot from in tight that Khabibulin could only wave at.
Edmonton rallied to tie it 3-all just 31 seconds later as Ryan Jones dished the puck to Yakupov on a 2-on-1 and he elected to drop it to Horcoff, who was trailing and dumped it into a wide-open net.
There was yet another early goal just 27 seconds into the third. Hemsky coughed up the puck in the Edmonton zone and Atkinson was able to score his second of the game on a shot that deflected of Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid's stick.
Dubnyk came in to take Khabibulin's place in the Edmonton net.
Bobrovsky got a piece of a Potter point shot that somehow managed to get through, tying it 4-4 less than 3 minutes later.
Notes: It was the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. Edmonton won the first 3-1 and Columbus took the second 4-3 in a shootout. ... Coming in, the Oilers had won four straight against the Blue Jackets at home and were 17-4-1 in Rexall Placea. ... Bobrovsky had gone 8-1-3 with a 1.23 goals against average in March, and had recorded three shutouts in his last nine starts. ... The Oilers kept the young trio of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle together after they combined for eight points in Edmonton's 3-0 win over St. Louis on Tuesday. ... Columbus F Brandon Dubinsky (lower body) has not played since last Tuesday and remains day-to-day. ... Oilers F Eric Belanger was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a groin injury.