Before heading to Edmonton, the Columbus Blue Jackets played one of their better games of the season, as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. I think it is safe to say that the Blue Jackets headed west through Canada with some confidence – especially heading into Oiler territory. The Oilers are a team who had been struggling, and only had 12 points on the season so far – they certainly didn’t play like they were struggling though.
The first period could easily be summed up by Rob Mixer…
Well, safe to say that was the worst 20 minutes of hockey the Blue Jackets have played all season and they were dominated by the Oilers.
The Blue Jackets couldn’t seem to get out of their own zone during the period, and therefore could not generate any decent scoring chances. The only real chance that CBJ had was Derek MacKenzie‘s mini break away – unfortunately he put the puck wide of the net. Edmonton had the exact opposite, it seemed as if they had opportunity after opportunity. I suppose that is what happens when you have 15 shots in the opening period though.
Jordan Eberle was the first Oiler goal scorer, as he slipped quietly behind Nikita Nikitin to put in the first goal of the game. The puck was shot from the blue line by defenseman Corey Potter, then Eberle found the puck just sitting in the crease, and easily tapped it in. The Oilers also capitilized on both of their power play opportunities as they went 2 for 2 in the period as well – David Perron and Ryan Smyth the goal scorers. The period ended with the Oilers up by a field goal.
The second period was more of the same play – Edmonton dominating all over the ice, and even scoring another 3 goals. The Blue Jackets held the Oilers scoreless for just over 8 minutes into the period, then Perron netted his second goal of the game. Just 2 minutes later Jack Johnson was whistled for holding Nail Yakupov – ironically enough, Yakupov ended up scoring on the power play, which made that 3 power play goals on 3 opportunities.
The Oilers weren’t done, Justin Schultz added the final goal of the period as he scored his second goal of the season. The Oilers had an odd man rush and Schultz ended up being wide open on the wing – Artem Anisimov was the Blue Jackets player who was not hustling back to cover the extra man. The period ended with the Oilers scoring another field goal, making it 6-0.
Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the second period after Perron scored the 4th goal of the night. Bobrovsky was getting no help from his defense, or anyone for that matter. His night ended with 4 goals against, and making 14 saves for a .778 save percentage. Curtis McElhinney replaced Bobrovsky in net, and faced 14 shots, saving 11.
The third period went by rather quickly, at least that is what I wanted it to do. The Blue Jackets continued to play less than mediocre hockey and had no quality scoring chances. The highlight of the third period for the Blue Jackets was McElhinney’s spectacular save on Sam Gagner. It would have been goal #7 for the Oilers, but the CBJ netminder made the best save of the night for the Jackets. Not to worry though, the Oilers would score their 7th goal late in the third period.
Taylor Hall was sprung loose into the Blue Jackets zone, he was all alone on the break away, and with some luck he put it past McElhinney. If you watch the replay though, you will actually notice that Hall somewhat whiffed the shot, but still got enough blade on it to score. It seemed as if he was going to fake the shot and deke, which is why McElhinney had a tough time with it. The Hall goal was the last goal of the evening, thank god.
What is left to say? The Blue Jackets played a horrible game, they were outplayed – simple as that. There was no energy, no motivation, and it showed on the scoreboard. The Oilers had double the shots, they went 3/4 on the power play, and they blocked 15 shots. The Blue Jackets out-hit Edmonton, and won more face-offs, but obviously it wasn’t enough to get any sort of spark.
They don’t have long to bounce back from this devastating loss, they will head to Calgary to take on the Flames for a Wednesday night meeting – a team that beat them on their home ice on opening night.