Edmonton 6 Columbus 3
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ryan Jones had a goal and two assists, Chris VandeVelde scored his first NHL goal and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 on Sunday in a matchup of the league’s two worst teams.
The Oilers (69) and Blue Jackets (55) came in with 124 points combined, while the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues have 101 apiece all by themselves.
Ladislav Smid, Ben Eager, Sam Gagner and Eric Belanger scored, and Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Whitney each had two assists for the Oilers, who have points in their last seven games.
Rick Nash scored on a penalty shot and Mark Letestu and Derick Brassard also had goals for Columbus.
The loss assured the Blue Jackets of having the worst record in the NHL this season. Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves to improve to 14-8-2 in 2012.
The Oilers pulled away by scoring five times in the second period, taking advantage of a lacklustre performance by goalie Steve Mason and the rest of the Blue Jackets’ defence.
Allen York replaced Mason at the start of the third.
As Columbus’ Nikita Nikitin was scrambling back into the play after leaving the penalty box after serving 2 minutes for hooking, Edmonton tied it at 1 when Jones redirected Whitney’s hard shot from the right point.
Nash was hooked down by Smid on a breakaway and was rewarded a penalty shot.
In a no-frills approach, he skated in and just flicked a hard, low shot past Dubnyk. Nash had scored on just one of the eight previous penalty shots in his career.
The Oilers responded with four goals in a span of 7:49.
VandeVelde, called up from Oklahoma City on Saturday, scored a soft goal when he collected a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated laterally to the top of the left faceoff circle and sent a wrister past Mason. VandeVelde was playing in his 13th NHL game.
Schmid then got his fifth goal on a shot from just inside the blue line with almost no one between him and Mason.
A defensive lapse by David Savard gave Eager the puck with an open alley to the net and he scored unassisted from 20 feet out.
There were boos after that goal, which made it 4-2.
They grew louder from a crowd of 12,295 a moment later when the Blue Jackets failed to clear on the penalty kill and Gagne’s shot from the top of the left circle got past Mason high on the glove side.
The Blue Jackets, who dropped to 18-13-4 when scoring first and 13-3-1 with a lead after a period, got on the board first at the 16:46 mark.
Aaron Johnson forced a turnover in the offensive zone and turned and wheeled toward the goal. His shot from the bottom of the right circle was stopped by Dubnyk, but the rebound kicked to Letestu, who went high with his shot for his 10th goal of the season.
When York stopped the first shot of the third period, the crowd responded with a derisive cheer.
NOTES: Nash’s penalty shot was the 25th ever for the Blue Jackets. It was the seventh goal and the first since March 25, 2010, against Chicago (by Jake Voracek). … Theo Peckham slid awkwardly into the boards as he was being hit by Nash in the first period and left the game. He did not return, with the team announcing he had a concussion. … Mason had won six of his last eight starts but gave up five goals on 13 shots in the second period. … Belanger added a short-handed empty-netter late.