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NHL Game Summary - Columbus at Edmonton



(Tuesday, January 20th)

Final Score: Edmonton 4, Columbus 3

Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Ales Hemsky assisted on the tying goal in the latter stages of the third period and scored the game-winner with 35 seconds remaining in regulation as part of his four-point effort to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rexall Place.

Hemsky finished with two goals and two assists for Edmonton, which has won three straight and entered the pause for All-Star weekend as winners in five of its last six games overall. Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov also scored in the win while Oilers' goaltender Dwayne Roloson ended with 20 saves.

"He is definitely the difference-maker in the game," said Edmonton's Tom Gilbert about Hemsky. "He makes plays that even awe us -- for us, it's (about) getting ready because when he has the puck, you never know when it's going to land on your stick."

Jason Williams, Jared Boll and Marc Methot scored for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped two of their last three contests and will face Calgary on Wednesday before the break.

Steve Mason allowed four goals on 22 shots in the loss. Earlier Tuesday, the Blue Jackets announced that goaltender Pascal Leclaire will undergo ankle surgery on Friday and could possibly miss the rest of the regular season.

The Oilers entered the third period with a 3-2 deficit, but Hemsky would not let them lose. With under five minutes remaining in regulation, he set up Grebeshkov's successful one-timer from the bottom of the right circle with a nice head-fake in the slot that fooled the Columbus defense corps and allowed Grebeshkov to gain the open space.

Hemsky then netted the game-winning marker with 35 seconds to go. He streaked down the right-wing side on a 3-on-2 rush and buried a wrist shot past Mason from inside the right circle as the home crowd erupted.

"We gave the game away," said angry Columbus head coach Ken Hitchcock. "They had nothing going and we were completely in control of the hockey game. We had a turnover (in the final minute) and you can't do that. We played a great third period and then gave it away. Bottom line."

Edmonton's next game is on January 27 when it hosts Buffalo.

The Oilers grabbed a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at the 5:05 mark of the opening period when Hemsky passed from inside the left circle to the high slot for a successful one-timer by Visnovsky.

Boll's second marker of the season 1:28 into the second frame tied the score.

Near the midpoint of the second, Hemsky used his superior speed to put the Oilers back on top. Gilbert sent a cross-ice pass from the left side of the neutral zone that hit Hemsky in stride. Hemsky corralled the disc at the blue line, streaked down the right side, out-hustled the slower defenseman to gain a partial breakaway and used a backhander from the top of the crease to light the lamp at 9:22.

The visitors, though, tied it up once again only 92 seconds later when Methot registered his fourth goal of the campaign. Manny Malhotra gained the blue line along the right side and put the brakes on along the half-wall near the circle. Malhotra then passed across the slot for the trailing defenseman Methot, who lasered home a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

With 5:38 remaining before the second intermission, Columbus moved ahead 3-2 on a blazing wrist shot by Williams. Jakub Voracek's strong forechecking allowed him to emerge from the left corner with puck possession and he dealt a perfect back-handed saucer pass for Williams, who buried the disc into the back of the cage from the inner rim of the left circle.

Game Notes

The Oilers have won four straight home games against the Jackets...Hemsky has 14 goals and 27 assists this season...The Oilers were 1-for-2 on the power play, while the visitors ended 0-for-2 with the extra skater.

01/21 00:53:27 ET


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