SUN Hockey Pool

Full Mettle Jackets

Oilers defenceman Steve Staios (left), goalie Dwayne Roloson (right) and Blue Jackets forward R.J....

Oilers defenceman Steve Staios (left), goalie Dwayne Roloson (right) and Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger prepare for a shot during second period action on Thursday. (Sun Media/Amber Bracken)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

If the Edmonton Oilers consider themselves a playoff team, they ought to start acting like one.

They certainly didn't Thursday night, letting the Columbus Blue Jackets roll into Rexall Place and run their show in a 1-0 victory that was as lopsided as a 1-0 victory can possibly be.

The Jackets beat the Oilers in every aspect of the game. Outworked Edmonton. Outskated them. Outhustled them. Out-everythinged them.

"They were beating us to some loose pucks," netminder Dwayne Roloson said in an understatement as big as the holes in Edmonton's game. "They were able to hem us in a little bit."

Like bad skirts, the Blue Jackets hemmed Edmonton. They outshot the hopeless hosts 17-5 in the second period and would have had this one wrapped up after 40 minutes were it not for the brilliant work of Roloson, whose 31-save effort went to straight to the garbage can.

It wasn't hard to see which side wanted it more. Columbus came out flying, hitting, battling. The only time the Oilers showed any jump was getting the heck out of the dressing room before the media got in. It was empty except for a few guys brave enough to answer for the mess.

"Offensively we need to be a little more efficient," said captain Ethan Moreau. "In a game like this where we're getting outshot and it appears we're getting outplayed, if we capitalize on a couple of chances ... or one chance ... we just didn't make good plays."

Columbus got the only goal it needed from none other than former Oilers winger Raffi Torres. Torres, who got worked over in a first period fight with Jason Strudwick, took a pass from Jared Boll and beat Roloson with a five hole deke at 7:45 of the third period.

"It was tough," said Sam Gagner. "That's the type of style they play, frustrating. They don't give up all that much and they look for mistakes from the other team. Obviously it's a game we'd like to get back but we have to move forward."

They're not moving up. The Oilers entered the game in a three-way tie for seventh, eighth and ninth place with 65 points, just one point back of the sixth place Blue Jackets. But on a night when two of the teams they're tied with lost, and 11th place Nashville closed the gap from three points to one, this doesn't help.

"We can't worry about what other teams are doing, we have to take care of our own business, that's winning hockey games," said Roloson. "We have to use this as a learning tool and move forward."

Five goals one night, AWOL the next, this team makes you want to pull your hair out. Steve Mason got the 19-save shutout in the Columbus net and you barely noticed him.

"They kept turning us back," said Gagner. "When that happens you have to stay patient. Rolie played great for us. This is tough, you want to be there to support him. Hopefully we can bounce back."

Edmonton's last chance to tie it came with the goalie out. MacTavish, who got so little from his top two lines, sent out some of his checkers - Moreau and Fernando Pisani. No goal.

Moreau blamed the game on lack of smarts, not hustle.

"It's not so much energy," he said. "When you're not getting pucks in deep and you're not creating any speed in the neutral zone it's going to look that way. They clogged up the neutral zone and we didn't move the puck like we usually do. That's why it appears lacklustre. When you don't have speed in the neutral zone it results in a lot of guys skating around eating up ice."


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