Jackets straighten out Oil

Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk are dejected as Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres celebrates a second...

Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk are dejected as Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres celebrates a second period goal on Thursday. (QMI Agency/Jason Franson)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

If the Jackets look this bad on you, you definitely need a Taylor ...

Taylor Hall.

The Edmonton Oilers showed again last night why they need to be blown up and rebuilt from scratch -- starting with a juicy lottery pick -- when they let the 28th place team in the NHL stumble into their building and snap a 13-game road losing streak.

In a season of low points, the Oilers dug themselves into new territory in losing last night's Clash of the Titanics 4-2.

KEEPING PACE

The loss did help Edmonton keep pace with Carolina, who fell 4-2 in Nashville last night.

The Oilers remain eight points back (er, ahead) of the 30th place Hurricanes in the chase for the most lottery balls this summer.

The Jackets had lost 21 of their last 24, while the Oilers now have one win in their last 12, and this game between the 15th place team and the 14th place team lived up to its billing.

Never mind the World Junior game, fans were hoping the Oilers would show a Seinfeld re-run on the scoreboard. A thriller it wasn't.

The two sides traded goals 19 seconds apart in the first period -- R.J. Umberger at 16:40 and Fernando Pisani at 16:59 -- for the only excitement of the opening 20 minutes.

More of the same in the second, with Antoine Vermette's goal at 18:43 giving Columbus a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

Edmonton tied it early, Sam Gagner at 1:36, but just nine seconds after Steve Staios took an interference penalty, Kristian Huselius put the Jackets back in front.

Patrick O'Sullivan accidentally deflected a point shot into Edmonton's net to seal their fate.

Edmonton had three shots on net through the first 15 minutes of the third period. At home. To the 28th place team in the league.

Enough said.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk, making his second ever NHL start, stopped 25 of 29 shots in the game, a better night than his Dec. 21 debut against St. Louis, a 7-2 loss.

Dubnyk is balancing nerves and rust as he adjusts to the new schedule. When you go from carrying the mail every day as a starter, going back to the backup routine is a bit of an adjustment.

"It's definitely a little different," he said. "Each game that you get in is almost a fresh start. You don't get to roll through three or four games where you kind of get hot and start feeling well.

"But that's part of our job and I've done it before when I was 16 in Kamloops and again in my first year in Springfield behind Jeff, so it's something that you learn to do.

"As a professional you have to do your best with the situation you're put in and as a backup, that's what you have to do, give your team a chance to win once in a while."

It's not an ideal situation, sitting for weeks at a time and playing on a team with a permanent black cloud in the dressing room, but you won't hear any complaints from a guy who's been dreaming about this league from the day he learned to skate.

'GET CAUGHT UP'

"Every single day I try to just remember where I am," he said. "I worked my entire life to get here. It's easy to get caught up in all that other stuff and forget that. I think it's healthy to just kind of sit down and reflect a little bit on where I am -- not to be satisfied with it, but enjoy it and be excited to be here."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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