It started off ugly, and much like many nights the Columbus Blue Jackets have seen this year: lazy defensive plays, penalty trouble, screened shots, and a 2-0 opponent lead before the first period had even settled down. RJ Umberger ignited some life into the team late in the first when some criss-crossing plays with Derek Dorsett cut the deficit in half. It would be just the beginning of what would turn out to be one of Umberger’s career nights with the Blue Jackets.
Kristian Huselius, who one night before in Detroit had become the most recent victim of Arniel’s doghouse, returned in place of Chris Clark. Combined with Umberger, the two were responsible for all four goals and creating opportunities that prior to his benching, Huselius was not finding. The game was tied at two in the second period when Umberger and Huselius connected in front of the net, drawing Khabibulin aside to allow Huselius a half-empty net to shoot at.
The third period would beÂ a brand new game. One that, as usual, the Oilers would jumpÂ out toÂ an early lead in,Â when Paajarvi would net his second of the game. But Umberger, with two points already in his pocket, wouldn’t let the game go so easily. He took the puck from Kris Russell and worked through all kinds of traffic to get the puck past Khabibulin and tie the game yet again on his nineteenth goal of the season. Huselius would give the Jackets the lead for good just over two minutes laterÂ when Russell â€“ the puck moving defenseman â€“ did just that and moved it up the ice to Umberger, who handed it to Huselius to beat Khabibulin. 4-3 Jackets, and that would be the final score. For a team who looked awful in the early going, they recovered nicely on a monster night by their second-line forwards.
Tonight’s Stud: RJ Umberger, of course. Two goals, two assists, and yet another three-period 100% effort by Umberger. Honorable mention: Kristian Huselius.
Tonight’s Dud(s): Russell and Clitsome were out for all four Columbus goals, but gave up a few brilliant chances to the Oilers. Can’t happen that way. Honorable mention: the first line – combined for 13 shots, but all three were minus two with little legitimateÂ offensive impact.
– Despite penalty trouble early on, all seven goals were even strength.
– Umberger now has 19 goals, just 7 off his career-high of 26 with the Jackets in 2008-09. Twelve points off his career high ofÂ 50.
– Russell, probably partially responsible for the first Oilers’ goal, managed to finish the game a +2 with two assists. The fourth-year defenseman had an ugly night, but was out for all four Columbus goals.
– John Moore made his NHL debut and played 12:05. He was a -1, but had a relatively quiet night on the ice. He didn’t look overly nervous or jittery at all.
– Rookie Matt Calvert played just 5:07, only taking four shifts after receiving a high stick in the first. Back on the fourth line after a one-game promotion, he and his linemates all played five minutes or under.
– Three players had a multi-point night: Umberger (4), Huselius (3), and Russell (2).
– This team is not afraid to throw their weight around: Methot & Murray each had six hits. Derek Mackenzie had 3 in just 4:17 TOI.
– Rick Nash had eight shots on goal. Yes, eight.
NEXT GAME: TuesdayÂ at Pittsburgh, 7pm.