Oilers fail to clinch playoff home advantage, losing to Blue Jackets

McDavid had assists on goals from Evander Kane and Draisaitl to give him 118 points, two more than his career high in 2018-19

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While Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had three points and personal NHL milestones, the Edmonton Oilers didn’t get the two on the board against the Columbus Blue Jackets they needed on Sunday, so they didn’t. haven’t clinched the home advantage in the playoffs yet.

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McDavid had assists on goals from Evander Kane and Draisaitl to give him 118 points, two more than his career high in 2018-19, as he chases his fourth Art Ross Trophy – one of seven only in history to have so many outstanding titles.

And Draisaitl slammed his 55th from his usual faceoff circle on the power play, off the McDavid stream, to become one of only 30 players to score that many in a season.

With the Auston Matthews Maple Leafs at 58, it’s the first time in more than 25 years that two players have been 55 or older.

But the Oilers, who entered the game 34-3-1 as they led after 40 minutes, failed to hold onto their 2-1 lead and fell 5-2 to the Blue Jackets.

On Kids Take Over Day in Columbus, an initiative to let young people make announcements in the building (PA and promotion), two of Jackets’ goals in the third came from the college free agent who just signing Nick Blankenburg and teenager Cole Sillinger.

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Blankenburg, who played for the Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL before moving to the University of Michigan, scored his first NHL goal in his sixth game with a forward shot on the power play after the Oilers were nailed for too many men when they had clear control of the puck and Duncan Keith was waiting behind the net for the trade.

Rookie Sillinger, whose father Mike worked for the Oilers, put the last in an empty net with Mikko Koskinen on the bench.

The Oilers, after beating Nashville, Vegas, Dallas and Colorado by a combined 19-5, weren’t sharpened, as you’d expect against a non-playoff team.

They missed too many chances in the first 40 minutes, Columbus got a solid play in goal from Elvis Merzlikins, and let the Jackets hang around, then let the game slip away.

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“At the end of the day, you have to be better. We have to exploit those chances, be more precise and put them aside, ”said Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie, who had a golden opportunity in the first quarter slot and missed after Kane’s goal three minutes later. , as did Zach Hyman (short-handed) and Brett Kulak while Merzlikins stole Kailer Yamamoto’s backdoor.

“On a personal level, we can be more precise in converting them. Their goalie played really well and that’s the kind of goalie you’ll see in the playoffs,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “You have to maximize those opportunities because there won’t be as many in the playoffs.”

“We were chasing him there at the end of the game when we probably could have avoided him,” said Barrie, who saw Jack Roslovic complete a two-on-one with Jake Voracek, his third assist to give him five goals. and 54 apples over the season.

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The game turned on the call of too many men eight minutes into the third. Five men charged over the boards, four forwards (one too many) and a defenseman as Keith held the puck behind Koskinen’s net.

“There was a little pushing game on the first leg between one of our forwards and their defender. Whoever jumped for this player didn’t realize he wasn’t out. A mental error at an important moment in the match,” Woodcroft said.

The Jackets, who have 79 points, are in the middle of the pack. They were coming off a shootout loss to Ottawa, but they got back up for the Oilers.

“We painted a picture (as coaches) that they’re a competitive team…but definitely a missed opportunity for us,” Woodcroft said.

“Just dump that and move on,” Hyman said.

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The Oilers played without Darnell Nurse, who has an undisclosed leg injury and did not make the trip. They dressed six defenders.

Blankenburg, Michigan’s captain on a star-studded team with Owen Power, now at Buffalo and Matty Beniers, now signed to Seattle, blanked when his shot passed Koskinen.

“Dream come true and do it against the Edmonton Oilers,” said the five-foot, 175-pound defenseman, who found himself facing McDavid for much of the day with partner Vladislav Gavrikov.

“I didn’t handle their first goal very well (McDavid’s pass to Kane). I was more worried about McDavid,” Blankenburg admitted.

“I’m sure some of our kids would be looking for autographs after the game, that’s how good these guys (McDavid and Draisaitl) are. It’s sink or swim,” said Jackets coach Brad Larsen, who wasn’t about to hide his kids.

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This and that: Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi missed his second straight game with a non-Covid illness… Zack Kassian was given a 10-minute misconduct while skating off the ice after the second period after his penalty brutal on Eric Robinson, who scored the Blue Jackets’ first goal. It wasn’t an exaggerated thing he said, according to Woodcroft. “They may have sought to defuse the situation,” Woodcroft said. Kassian was in the penalty box for six extra minutes as there was no stoppage in play so he had to come out almost 16 minutes… Patrik Laine, who has 56 points in 56 games (ill) did not not played.

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