October 31, 2019 / 2:28 AM / 13 days ago

Oilers end brief losing streak by ripping Jackets

EditorsNote: update 2: rewords sixth, ninth and 12th grafs

Leon Draisaitl posted two goals and an assist, James Neal scored his NHL-leading eighth power-play tally, and the Edmonton Oilers beat the host Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Wednesday.

Playing their third game in four days, Edmonton jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second period. Jujhar Khaira also netted a goal, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added two assists as the Oilers broke a two-game losing skid.

Oilers fourth line center Riley Sheahan left the game and did not return after a hard hit from Pierre-Luc Dubois late in the first period.

Edmonton goalie Mike Smith, who was pulled on Sunday after allowing three goals to the Florida Panthers, rebounded by stopping 23 of 24 shots.

Edmonton has won four of the last five meetings with the Blue Jackets.

Columbus received a goal from Zach Werenski on assists by Cam Atkinson and Dubois but lost its second straight game and is 2-2-2 in its past six.

In his 100th NHL game, Columbus starting goalie Joonas Korpisalo was pulled early in the second period after allowing his fourth goal on just 12 Edmonton shots. Elvis Merzlikins stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief.

On Edmonton’s second power play in the first period, Smith — arguably the top puck-handling goalie — came out of his crease and into the high slot to handle a loose puck and zipped roughly a 75-foot pass to Connor McDavid at the far blue line.

McDavid dropped the puck to Draisaitl, who fed Neal, and Neal found the net for his 11th goal of the season at 9:11 for a 1-0 lead.

Neal’s eighth power-play goal broke a tie with the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak for the league lead.

Nugent-Hopkins slipped a clever pass that set up Draisaitl for his 11th goal of the season at 17:02 as the visitors held a 2-0 lead after one period.

Khaira made it 3-0 just 80 seconds into the second with his first goal of the season. At 4:56 of the middle period, Draisaitl finished a two-on-one pass from Zack Kassian for his second tally of the night and 12th of the season.

Columbus snapped a 1-for-26 spell on the power play when Werenski drilled home his third goal of the season at 6:55 to make it 4-1.

Werenski’s blast was his 41st career goal, tying him with Rostislav Klesla for the most in franchise history by a defenseman.

The Oilers made a crucial stand when their penalty-kill unit thwarted an almost full five-on-three power play by Columbus — 1:47 — to keep it 4-1 after two periods.

Smith denied all seven shots by Columbus in the third period to preserve the win.

—Field Level Media

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