COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sergei Bobrovsky gave the Columbus Blue Jackets just what they needed with the Edmonton Oilers pressing for a win in overtime.
Bobrovsky, replacing an ineffective Steve Mason, made two spectacular short-handed saves in overtime and stopped both shots he faced in the shootout to help the Blue Jackets beat the Oilers 4-3 on Tuesday night.
“It’s great. It’s what you need,” Columbus’ Vinny Prospal said of Bobrovsky’s play. “If one guy has an off game and the other guy comes in and relieves him like that. That’s awesome. That’s where the confidence grows.”
Prospal had a goal and an assist, and Derek MacKenzie and Jack Johnson also scored in regulation. Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu scored in the shootout for Columbus, which extended its points streak to four games and is the last team to win back-to-games in the NHL this season.
Jeff Petry, Ryan Whitney and Magnus Paajarvi tallied for Edmonton, who couldn’t hold a 3-2 lead and fell to 1-3-1 on season-high nine-game, 17-day road trip in which they’ve been outshot 111-67.
“Bobrovsky probably has to be the difference-maker here for the point that we lost,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said.
After an up-tempo first two periods with the teams trading chances and goals, defence was the key in the third period and overtime.
The Oilers’ Devan Dubnyk made several big stops on R.J. Umberger in the third period, including one with under a minute remaining. Then in overtime, Bobrovsky who didn’t allow a goal on six shots after replacing Mason 31 seconds into the second period, stopped Jordan Eberle twice with Edmonton on the power play. He stopped a close range shot at the back post with a sliding leg pad then used his blocker on a similar play moments later.
“Usually Ebs would be able to bury those,” Kreuger said before referring to his forward’s injured hand that almost kept him out of the lineup. “He had a little pain that might have held him back from putting them in the roof. But two great saves.”
Johnson nearly won it for Columbus with 42 seconds left in overtime when his shot from the slot hit the right post.
Edmonton made it 3-2 while the ice was still wet in the second period. On the rush, Sam Gagner stepped around Cody Goloubef, stretched to tap the puck to Paajarvi, who beat a frozen Mason.
Columbus responded at 10:44 with Derick Brassard, from behind the net, threading a pass to Johnson for a snap shot from between the circles for his second. Johnson was back in the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
“I came right off the bench and nobody was around me,” Johnson said. “I was able to walk right in. I was just trying to shoot high.”
In a back-and-forth first period, Petry opened the scoring with his second at 4:23 on a floater from the point past a screened Mason.
Three minutes later, Boll feathered a long pass from the top of the right circle. MacKenzie fended off Whitney and got his stick down in time for a doorstep redirect to tie it with his third.
Prospal made it 2-1 with his team-leading ninth, on the power play, at 13:45 on a jam-shot during a scramble. After Letestu rung a shot off the post, Ryan Johansen dove to poke the puck away from Dubnyk to Prospal.
“The guys battled and competed, the effort was there,” Richards said.
Whitney made it 2-2 late in the period, cruising into the zone unmarked then beating Mason between the legs from near the right dot.
“Obviously it was a huge penalty kill in overtime,” Richards said. “Bobrovsky was great.”
NOTES: Columbus F Matt Calvert was assessed a game misconduct after a bout with Petry in the first period for not having his jersey fight-strap tied down. … A total of 17 players had at least one point. … The Oilers are on the road because the Canadian men’s curling championships are being held at their home arena, Rexall Place. … F Mike Brown, acquired earlier in the week from Toronto, made his Edmonton debut. … Nine of Columbus’ last 10 games have been decided by one goal with the last four going to overtime or a shootout. …Mason finished with five saves on eight shots.