Smyth scored twice to help the Edmonton Oilers snap a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. “We played pretty sound hockey,” said Smyth, who has 12 goals in 20 games against Columbus. “Hopefully we can continue some good things out of this.”
The defending Western Conference champion Oilers had lost six of seven to fall to ninth place in the conference.
Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish was also pleased with his team’s performance.
“It’s as good of a game, technically, as we’ve had all year,” he said. “We were in the right spot, playing in units of five.”
Ales Hemsky and Joffrey Lupul added goals for Edmonton, which opened the scoring with two goals 1:38 apart early in the second period.
“If we play like that every night we have a great chance of winning every night,” said Dwayne Roloson, who made 26 saves.
Ex-Oiler Anson Carter scored his second goal in 14 games for Columbus, which had won two of three, but hasn’t won back-to-back games in a month.
After a scoreless first period with both goaltenders stopping quality scoring chances, Hemsky struck 40 seconds into the second.
The Oilers’ Toby Petersen scooped up a loose puck in his end after Carter’s stuff attempt was blocked. Hemsky took Petersen’s pass at centre ice, glided into the zone and fired a wrist shot past Pascal Leclaire from the right circle.
Lupul made it 2-0 with his fourth of the season at 2:18, stepping around Columbus’ Dan Fritsche before squeezing a snap shot under Leclaire’s right arm.
“Overall it looked like our guys were tired the second half of the game,” Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant said.
The Blue Jackets missed a prime scoring chance a few minutes later when a crowd of players crashed into Roloson, breaking his stick and forcing him to play without one for nearly two minutes. Columbus was only able get one shot on goal and made a line change before a whistle was blown.
Later in the period – and seconds after an Edmonton power play expired – Smyth shed defenceman Ron Hainsey to nudge home a rebound from Steve Staios’ point shot to make it 3-0 at 12:40. Smyth has seven points in his last six games.
“We got the puck to the net, which we talked about the last couple weeks,” Smyth said. “We capitalized around the net area and got the bounces.”
Columbus responded two minutes later on a power-play rush. Sergei Fedorov slid a cross-ice pass to Rick Nash, who dropped the puck in the slot for Carter. He snapped a shot into the top right corner.
Smyth tallied his second goal, and 10th of the season, at 2:07 of the third, redirecting Brad Winchester’s pass from the left wing on a 2-on-1 rush.
The goal came shortly after the Blue Jackets failed to generate a scoring chance during a 4-on-3 advantage for 1:37 that carried over from the second period.
Notes: Columbus’ Ole-Kristian Tollefson and Edmonton’s Patrick Thoresen were the first Norwegians to play against one another in the NHL. … Edmonton entered with just one win in seven road games. … Carter’s goal was the 1,000th in Blue Jackets history. … Edmonton, which finished 0-for-4 on the power play, was 0-for-18 with the man advantage during their four-game skid.