Thomas Vanek’s hat trick in a four-point game was key as the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets scored seven unanswered goals en route to a 7-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
Oilers star Connor McDavid netted three points at Rogers Place to strengthen his Art Ross Trophy bid on fan appreciation night. However, Vanek stole the show for a Columbus squad that has won 11 of 12 outings and sits one point back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
With the hosts ahead 3-0, Vanek began the comeback at 12:39 of the opening frame with a lucky goal that happens when a team is rolling. His shot rang off the post and bounced into the net off the arm of Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
After Artemi Panarin scored 52 seconds later, Vanek deflected David Savard’s point shot at the 16:40 mark of the first period for his second of the game.
Boone Jenner’s goal 98 seconds into the second period put Columbus ahead for good, and Cam Atkinson’s fourth goal in six games, and 20th of the season, came at 6:24. Oilers starting goalie Cam Talbot was pulled after allowing give goals on 18 shots.
Vanek completed his 11th career hat trick by blasting a shot past Laurent Brossoit with 4:58 remaining in the second period to make it a 6-3 game.
Markus Nutivaara added a goal with 8:03 left in regulation to round out the scoring. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves in the win, while Brossoit stopped seven of the nine shots he faced.
McDavid, who is starting to pull away in the scoring race, collected his 100th point of the season when he set up a Nugent-Hopkins goal 3:37 into the affair. McDavid became the first Oilers skater to reach the century mark in consecutive seasons since Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier did in 1986-87 and 1987-88.
Then McDavid became Edmonton’s first 40-goal scorer since Petr Klima in 1990-91 with a short-handed goal at the 6:06 mark. McDavid’s third point was an assist on Drake Caggiula’s power-play goal at 10:08 that gave the hosts a 3-0 lead. McDavid has 25 goals and 47 points in the past 28 games.
The game had a scary incident when linesman Steve Barton was taken off the ice via stretcher and sent to hospital after falling on his head when McDavid tripped and slid into his feet.
Although Barton was seemingly able to move his fingers and feet as he was initially being treated, a trainer summoned for a stretcher. Barton had his neck immobilized, and as he left the ice, he gave a thumbs up to the crowd.
—Field Level Media