McDavid leads Oilers past Blue Jackets as Columbus slips out of playoff spot

Oilers 4 Blue Jackets 1

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist and Leon Draisaitl had three assists as the Edmonton Oilers emerged with a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Kyle Brodziak, Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored as Edmonton (33-34-7) snapped a two-game losing skid.

David Savard responded for the Blue Jackets (40-30-4), who have lost three in a row.

Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson took some heat after comments made at a season ticket holder’s breakfast earlier Thursday, seeming to blame forward Tobias Rieder’s lack of production as a major factor in their current low position in the standings, and saying he would not be re-signed.

Rieder has no goals in 60 games this season. Nicholson reportedly said he “stepped out of bounds” later in the day.

Columbus’s loss coupled with Montreal’s 4-0 shutout of the New York Islanders earlier in the day put the Canadiens into the Eastern Conference’s second wild card spot, one point ahead of the Blue Jackets.

There was no scoring in a rather sedate first period with Columbus putting four shots on Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen and the Oilers only getting two shots on Jackets starter Joonas Korpisalo.

Savard finally broke the deadlock for Columbus with 8:25 remaining in the second period when he deflected a Markus Nutivaara shot past Koskinen.

Edmonton responded less than two minutes later when Brodziak picked the corner after a set-up from Joseph Gambardella, who picked up his first NHL point.

McDavid set up Kassian 45 seconds into the third period to give Edmonton its first lead. Kassian tied a career high with 14 goals on the season.

Edmonton made it 3-1 when a McDavid shot went off the post and then bounced off of Korpisalo’s back and in for his 37th of the season, putting him one point back of tying his career season high point total of 108.

Nugent-Hopkins put the game away with a late power-play goal on the only man advantage either team had on the night.

The Oilers are back at it on Saturday when they host the Ottawa Senators. The Blue Jackets are off until Sunday, when they are in Vancouver to face the Canucks.

Notes: It was the second and final meeting between the two teams this season, with Edmonton winning the previous encounter 4-0 on March 2… Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was out due to an undisclosed injury. Keith Kinkaid dressed as the backup.

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