Draisaitl, Koskinen lift Oilers over Blue Jackets 4-0
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers jumped all over the listless Columbus Blue Jackets.
Draisaitl had a goal and two assists, Mikko Koskinen made 30 saves and the Oilers beat the Blue Jackets 4-0 on Saturday.
“It was another good team performance,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “You don’t have to have the best players in the league to be successful, you need to have the best team, and that’s what we’re proving night in and night out. We’ve got a hell of a team going on right now, and we’re not going to let go of the rope.”
Columbus had won three of four, including a high-energy overtime victory against Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Blue Jackets are fighting to stay above the wild-card line in the Eastern Conference, but they were off right from the start against Edmonton.
“The way we played, the way we turned the puck over in the neutral zone, their guys had it easy, I think,” Columbus defenseman Seth Jones said. “We didn’t have any sustained forecheck, we didn’t make their top lines play defense, I thought, for long stretches of the night. That’s what they want.”
Columbus coach John Tortorella’s postgame session with reporters lasted all of 36 seconds.
“I’m not going to pick it apart,” he said. “We’re moving right by it.”
Zack Kassian, Josh Currie and Alex Chiasson also scored for the Oilers, who are 4-1-1 since a five-game losing streak. Connor McDavid had three assists.
Koskinen improved to 18-15-4 with his fourth career shutout — all this season.
Sergei Bobrovsky had 15 saves for Columbus before he was pulled after two periods. Joonas Korpisalo stopped each of the five shots he faced, but Columbus still couldn’t generate any offense.
Kassian, who broke Brandon Dubinsky’s eye socket in a fight in his previous game at Columbus, got his 10th goal of the season 6:27 into the game, going high to beat Bobrovsky from the right circle off a cross-ice pass from Draisaitl.
Early in the second period, the Oilers had their way for a long stretch in the Columbus zone, picking at the edges until McDavid circled around the net and fed Currie, who scored his second of the season at 5:07.
Draisaitl then buried a shot from the right circle after a give-and-go with McDavid, making it 3-0 at 8:53. Draisaitl became the third NHL player to reach 40 goals this season, behind only Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Chicago’s Patrick Kane.
Chiasson broke a 21-game goal drought when he scored the Oilers’ fourth late in the second, eliciting boos from the Nationwide Arena crowd.
“What, is there 17 games left?” Chaisson said. “We’re all playing 17 playoff games. For us, we can’t look too forward. We have to focus on what we can control. With that mind set, and we keep our energy level up and everyone is buying in and playing the right way, we have a chance.”
Hitchcock said Edmonton is reaping the benefits of great team play for about the past month and believes his team is in striking distance for a Western Conference playoff spot.
“If you keep playing at this level,” he said, “eventually the hockey gods help you out.”
NOTES: Draisaitl is 32nd Edmonton player to have a 40-plus goal season. He has eight goals and seven assists in the last 10 games. ... McDavid has five points in his last three games. He has 90 this season, third in the NHL.
Oilers: Visit Buffalo on Monday.
Blue Jackets: Host Winnipeg on Sunday.
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