Draisaitl, Oilers roll past Blue Jackets 4-1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Leon Draisaitl keeps building on his strong start for the Edmonton Oilers.
Draisaitl had two goals and an assist, Mike Smith stopped 23 shots and the Oilers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Draisaitl, who turned 24 on Sunday, moved into the NHL lead with 25 points. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft also grabbed a share of the league lead with 12 goals.
Edmonton had dropped two in a row, but it stayed in control after scoring twice in the first.
"We've been trailing a lot this season," Draisaitl said. "It's tiring trying to come from behind all the time. It's nice to play with the lead and get off to a good start."
James Neal and Jujhar Khaira also scored for the Oilers. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added two assists.
Draisaitl's second goal chased Joonas Korpisalo, who had his second lackluster outing in a row. He allowed four goals on Edmonton's first 12 shots before he was replaced in the second period by Elvis Merzlikins, who finished with 19 saves.
Korpisalo was in net Saturday night when Columbus blew a 4-2 lead in a 7-4 loss to Philadelphia.
The Blue Jackets have lost two straight after going 4-0-2 in the previous six games.
"We didn't win enough battles early on," Columbus forward Boone Jenner said. "We got behind and we couldn't crawl back in."
Neal got his 11th goal when he snapped in a power-play shot from the left circle off a pass from Draisaitl 9:11 into the game. Late in the first period, Draisaitl beat Korpisalo from the right circle seconds after a power play ended.
"If they get some openings, they're really dangerous, and they can capitalize," Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said.
The Oilers opened a 3-0 lead 1:20 into the second when Khaira tapped home a rebound that had trickled through Korpisalo's legs.
Columbus got on the board on its first power play. Zach Werenski converted a one-timer from the slot at 6:55 of the second.
Draisaitl helped the Oilers kill off a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period.
"He has an impact on every game," Tippett said. "Tonight everybody sees the goals but that 5-on-3 penalty kill we had was a big part of the game. We took two poor penalties in the second period in the offensive zone. You got a team down, you hate to let them back in the game with some poor power plays. Draisaitl did a heck of job on the 5-on-3."
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said his team had to play from behind and couldn't do it.
"When you're playing a team on a back-to-back, you want to get on them right away," Tortorella said. "To let their top players touch the puck as much as they did in the first period, to get themselves into the game, you're pushing an uphill battle."
NOTES: Draisaitl has nine points in his past four games. He got his 200th assist on Neal's first-period goal. ... Smith started after Mikko Koskinen played Tuesday. ... Columbus D Markus Nutivaara returned after missing two games with a lower-body injury. ... Entering the game, both teams were 5-0-0 when scoring first. ... Korpisalo played in his 100th NHL game. ... Oilers F Riley Sheahan left the game. No reason was given. ... Werenski scored his 41st career regular-season goal to tie Rostislav Klesla for the most ever by a Blue Jackets defenseman.
Oilers: At Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Blue Jackets: At St. Louis on Friday.
Follow Mitch Stacy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mitchstacyModified 21 Dec 2019, 00:54 IST