More good news, bad news in this one, but at least the Oilers 10th loss in the last 12 came with a one-point bonus. Like yesterday the Oil had a 2-1 lead but could neither hold it nor muster another goal.
All the scoring was done on the powerplay in this one, with point men Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Anton Stralman and Fedor Tyutin contributing two points apiece. The Oilers high-priced veteran blueliners were money tonight, as were fellow blueliners Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid. Souray in particular had a monster night, playing a game-high 26:56, contributing significantly to both special teams, and being hard-matched against Rick Nash who (somehow) was held off the scoresheet. After a six-week absence, Souray's calmness on the ice has been a sight for sore eyes; the game seems a lot more under control when he's out there.
The Blue Jackets iced a rugged line-up that included Tom "Don't Call Me Tim" Sestito, Jared Boll, and Michael Blunden. Oilers answered the bell early when Zack Stortini squared off with Blunden, followed seconds later by a tilt between Jason Strudwick and Sestito. Both Oilers more than held their own, as did their teammates in the fairly physical affair that followed. FWIW, Oilers outhit the Jackets 26-22 led by Smid's 5 hits and Souray's 4, which included a great open-ice hit on Blunden (pictured).
Up front the trio of Shawn Horcoff (26:56), Dustin Penner (23:47) and Ales Hemsky (23:00) were leaned on more heavily than ever in the absence of Sam Gagner, and they had some real jump, especially on the two successful powerplays and then in overtime.
On the negative side of the equation Ethan Moreau took yet another bad penalty deep in the offensive zone, this one on the penalty kill which put the Oilers two men short. As was the case yesterday, the opponents capitalized on thecaptain's mistake with a powerplay goal. In a close game, such blunders often translate directly to lost standings points, and a case can be made that this has happened twice in the last 36 hours.