NHL

Oilers try to build momentum against Blue Jackets

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The Sports Network
3/5/2013 11:23:39 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers will try to avoid a fourth loss in five games to begin their longest road trip of the season, as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets for Tuesday's battle at Nationwide Arena.

The Oilers are just 1-2-1 at the start of a nine-game swing and the club has lost two straight in regulation. Edmonton has lost each of its last two tilts by 4-2 scores, including Sunday's setback at Minnesota.

The Wild scored three of the four goals potted in the third period on Sunday to down the Oilers. Mikko Koivu, Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley all lit the lamp for Minnesota in the third.

Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner scored for Edmonton, while Devan Dubnyk played well in defeat, making 39 saves for the Oilers,

"We have to find ways to raise our level (of play) and compete," Gagner said. "It's a tough loss. We have to do some searching here and get ready for the next one."

The Oilers played Sunday without forward Taylor Hall, who is dealing with a strained hamstring. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NHL draft is questionable for Tuesday.

Hall is second on Edmonton this season with 18 points on four goals and a team-high 14 assists.

The Oilers have won three straight and five of the last six meetings in this series. Edmonton also has won two in a row in Columbus after dropping its five previous contests in the Buckeye State.

Edmonton, which will visit Detroit, Nashville, Chicago and Colorado to complete this swing, is 4-5-2 as the guest this season.

The Blue Jackets are last out of 15 teams in the Western Conference and trail Edmonton by four points for the 14th seed. However, Columbus was able to end a four-game slide in its last trip to the ice, notching a 2-1 overtime win Sunday against visiting Colorado. Artem Anisimov scored 2:26 into extra session to lift the Blue Jackets to a win after consecutive overtime losses.

Anisimov beat Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov with a wrist shot from the right circle to give Columbus just its second win in nine games (2-5-2).

"He was a monster tonight," Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen said of Anisimov. "He came up big for our team."

Vinny Prospal also scored Sunday for Columbus, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 18-of-19 shots for the win.

Sunday's test kicked off a four-game homestand for the Blue Jackets, who are 4-4-3 at Nationwide Arena this season.

Jordan Eberle Sam Gagner (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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