NHL Game Summary - Columbus at Edmonton
(Tuesday, November 1st)
Final Score: Edmonton 5, Columbus 1
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Ales Hemsky scored twice and Jussi Markkanen made 23 saves, as the Edmonton Oilers captured their third straight victory with a 5-1 decision over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rexall Place.
Raffi Torres, Todd Harvey and Ryan Smyth also scored for Edmonton, which will embark on a seven-game road trip that begins in Detroit on Thursday. Chris Pronger added two assists in the victory.
"Everyone is telling me to shoot the puck more," said Hemsky. "I've been carrying the puck more and looking for the shot to surprise the (goaltender)."
Rostislav Klesla netted the lone goal for Columbus, which has lost four of its last six games overall. The Blue Jackets welcomed back star forward Rick Nash, who was activated from the injured reserve list earlier Tuesday. Nash had missed the Blue Jackets' last 11 games with an ankle injury he suffered during training camp. Nash, who tied for the league lead in goals (41) in 2003-04, played briefly in the season opener, but left that game due to the injury.
Nash's return, though, paved the way for another notable player's exit. In the first period, Nash elbowed Oiler forward Michael Peca up high and forced him to leave the contest with a mild concussion.
Peca was skating through the neutral zone from the left side over to the right and just after he dished the puck to a teammate, Nash came across with an elbow to the head and Peca went down in a hurry. No penalty was called, but the hit was clearly delivered several strides after Peca had passed the puck.
After the teams traded goals in the first period, Edmonton exploded with four unanswered markers to take control of the contest.
In the second period, Hemsky's first goal put the Oilers ahead 2-1. Skating on the power play, Hemsky, who moments earlier had been cut in the face by an errant stick, walked out from the left circle and beat Marc Denis with a wrist shot from the hash mark 2:55 into the frame.
"He (Hemsky) is starting to get some confidence offensively, and we all know how important that is," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.
Toward the end of the middle session, another power-play tally gave Edmonton a two-goal edge. After Jan Hrdina was whistled for hooking, the Oilers went to work with the man advantage. Smyth fought for position in front of the net with Adam Foote, and after a shot from the point, lifted Foote's stick to gain control of the puck. He then faked to force Denis out of position and feathered the rebound home with 2:19 remaining.
"We need to stick together and not let the negatives creep into the (locker) room," said Foote.
Two more Oiler goals in the third cemented the victory.
The first came off the stick of Torres. Jarret Stoll streaked down the left side and fired a wrist shot that was denied by Denis. However, he let a huge rebound trickle out to the low right circle, where Torres was waiting to punch it into the cage at the 4:17 mark.
The final goal was Hemsky's second of the night only 41 seconds later.
Pronger corralled the puck at the right point and wound up for a slap shot. However, at the last second, Pronger spotted Hemsky stationed at the left post. Pronger fired a pass that Hemsky stopped with his left skate, then shifted the puck over to his forehand and beat Denis from the doorstep to create the final margin.
Denis stopped 30 shots in the loss.
Harvey's goal midway through the first period gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead, but Klesla tied it up on the power play at 16:39 and the teams went into the first intermission knotted at one apiece.
This marked the fifth straight road loss for Columbus...Georges Laraque's assist on the Harvey goal marked the 100th point of his career...Klesla was also activated from the injured list prior to the game. He had missed all 12 of Columbus' games this season with a stress fracture to his leg...Columbus fell to 1-8 all-time in Edmonton...The Blue Jackets finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Oilers scored twice on six chances with the extra skater.
11/02 01:33:10 ET