EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves and Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Saturday night to move into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with Vegas.
Caleb Jones, Connor McDavid and Riley Sheahan also scored for the Oilers (37-24-8), who have won four of five.
”There’s probably one reason why we win the game: our goaltending,” Chiasson said. ”At this time of year, the way the standings are, every game is meaningful. You would think maybe we would be on our toes a little bit more.”
Gustav Nyquist had a late goal for the Blue Jackets (32-22-15), who fell to 2-6-6 in their last 14 games. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 20 of 23 shots.
”I don’t think we could have played any better,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. ”We just played good as a team. We played good as a team away from the puck. Their goalie is the difference. That’s the difference in the game, their goaltending.”
Chiasson beat Korpisalo from a distance for his 10th of the season three minutes in on the first shot of the game.
Koskinen had to be extremely sharp in the first period as the Blue Jackets had a 21-7 edge in shots.
”He was unbelievable. The rest of the group wasn’t so unbelievable,” Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said. ”I don’t know if it was mental fatigue or whatever it is, but we were not good tonight. Our execution was poor and our ability to win battles to get to pucks was really poor, but our goaltender was really good, so we got two points.”
After a scoreless second period and with Columbus controlling the bulk of play, the Oilers got an insurance goal with 4:31 left in the third as a point shot from Jones eluded a screened Korpisalo.
Less than a minute later, Zack Kassian was able to advance a short pass to McDavid, who scored his 33rd of the season to make it 3-0.
Columbus spoiled Koskinen’s shutout bid with just 59 seconds remaining as Nyquist deposited his own rebound into the net on his team’s 46th shot of the game.
Edmonton finished off the scoring with an empty-net goal from Sheahan.
NOTES: Edmonton swept the two-game season series, also winning 4-1 on Oct. 30. … It was the first of 10 home games in March for Edmonton. … Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned after missing nine games with a shoulder injury, leaving the team with just Joakim Nygard (hand) and Mike Green (knee) out with injuries. It is a completely different story for the injury-riddled Blue Jackets, who were without Seth Jones (ankle), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Cam Atkinson (ankle), Oliver Bjorkstrand (ankle), Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Nathan Gerbe (groin), Dean Kukan (knee), Elvis Merzlikins (concussion), Alexandre Texier (back) and Ryan Murray (undisclosed).
The Blue Jackets are right back at it Sunday night in Vancouver.
The Oilers stay home to face Vegas on Monday night.
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