EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Jesse Puljujarvi had two goals and an assist and the Edmonton Oilers snapped a six-game skid with a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
“This was big for us, we needed this win,” Puljujarvi said. “We need to keep building on this to get wins on other nights. I hope this gives me more confidence to play better every evening.”
Derek Ryan, Brendan Perlini and Warren Foegele also scored for the Oilers, who also ended a five-game losing streak at home. Backup goalie Stuart Skinner stopped 36 of 38 shots.
“He’s a young goalie on the rise. He’s got all the tools,” Oilers assistant coach Glen Gulutzan said. “He’s in impeccable shape now, well-liked in the room. A big guy, moves well.
“He’s in the right spot for his development, on the right trajectory and he’s been walking the right line.”
Gustav Nyquist and Justin Danforth scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost eight of their last 10 games. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 25 of 29 shots, while Joonas Korpisalo stopped all 15 shots he faced.
“I don’t think it was an effort thing tonight,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “You have a start like that where we started fine, and then you’re down three to a very dangerous team.
“We had our looks, their goalie played well, we hit a lot of posts tonight. We weren’t perfect by any means, but the effort was better.”
Nyquist felt his team was just slightly out of sync, an ongoing issue for the club.
“We played a lot of good minutes, but things aren’t really going well lately,” he said. “We’re still in it, we just have to find our game and string together some wins.”
Edmonton’s run of allowing the first goal of the game — which had happened in 15 of their last 18 games — came to an end when they scored two goals in a 46-second span on a 5-on-3 man advantage nearly eight minutes into the first period.
The first goal came after Tyson Barrie’s point shot came off the backboards to Puljujarvi, who sent a backhand past Merzlikins.
Puljujarvi added a second goal, tapping in a nice feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins into a wide open net for his 10th of the season.
Edmonton is 10-0 this season when scoring first in a game.
“When you do that, it comes down to confidence. You start feeling good about yourselves,” Gulutzan said. “It’s important to score first, look around the league and see that.”
Perlini stripped a puck and sent it on net at the 11-minute mark of the first. Ryan tucked the rebound through Merzlikins’ legs.
Perlini blasted home a rebound from the slot at 16:41 of the third for his first of the season.
Korpisalo started the third period in the Columbus net.
The Blue Jackets spoiled Skinner’s shutout bid on their 30th shot, 6:28 into the third period as Nyquist chipped in a rebound.
Columbus closed within 4-2 when Danforth gathered a rebound and scored on the backhand with just over three minutes left.
Edmonton secured the victory when Foegele scored into an empty net.
NOTES: Out with injuries for the Oilers were Mike Smith (lower body), Slater Koekkoek (lower body), Kris Russell (upper body) and Zach Hyman (undisclosed); while Devin Shore joined Ryan McLeod and head coach Dave Tippett on COVID-19 protocol. … Missing from the Columbus lineup were Dean Kukan (upper body), Patrik Laine (upper body) and Adam Boqvist (upper body).
Columbus: At Buffalo Sabres on Monday in the last of a four-game trip. The Blue Jackets had their scheduled game in Calgary on Saturday postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Flames.
Edmonton: At Seattle Kraken on Saturday.