Red-hot Blue Jackets dump Oilers to hit 'Sweet 16'

The Blue Jackets were winding down another dominant victory when the near-sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena began to chant.

“We want 16! We want 16!”

Columbus delivered, and now it will try to tie an NHL record on Thursday night.

Cam Atkinson and William Karlsson scored power-play goals and Columbus beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 to extend their winning streak to 16 games — one away from the longest ever in the NHL.

Nick Foligno also scored for the Blue Jackets, who can tie the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins with a victory Thursday at Washington.

“Everything feels good right now,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “They deserve it. I’m proud of the team. I’m really happy with how they’ve handled these past three games, with all the talk [of the streak] and all that.”

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots for Columbus, which started the new year on the right note after winning all 14 games in December. The Blue Jackets haven’t lost since Nov. 26 thanks in part to the league’s best power-play unit.

Oscar Klefbom scored for Edmonton, which was limited throughout by Columbus’ hard-pressing defence. Cam Talbot had 32 saves for the Oilers.

“We didn’t come anywhere close to their pace or their tenacity, their relentlessness,” Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. “We weren’t anywhere near it.”

‘Working hard for the bounces’ 

The Blue Jackets got on the board 12:32 into the first period when Atkinson’s shot ricocheted in off the skate of the Oilers’ Andrej Sekera. Atkinson padded his team-leading totals to 18 goals and 38 points, and Zach Werenski and Alexander Wennberg got the assists.

“That was a nice bounce,” said Atkinson, who has 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games.

Edmonton managed just four shots on goal against a hustling defence in the opening period.

Klefbom evened it 5:39 into the second period with a shot from the slot on an Oilers rush. Shortly afterward, the Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky and the Oilers’ Patrick Maroon — who got an assist on Klefbom’s goal — slugged each other briefly and went to the box for fighting after Maroon threw a high elbow.

“I think that got a lot of guys going,” Foligno said.

Karlsson, skating for Dubinsky during the fighting penalty, put Columbus ahead 2-1 on another power play 10:43 into the second when he ripped a shot from the middle of the left circle past Talbot. Brandon Saad, who fed Karlsson with a perfect pass, got the assist, along with Seth Jones.

Foligno put Columbus up by two 2:45 into the third period with an unassisted goal after stepping in front of a pass as the Oilers were trying to get out of their zone.

Edmonton’s Milan Lucic said he understands how Columbus has been able to pile up the wins.

“You could see everything is falling in the right direction for them,” Lucic said. “It’s easy to say that they’re getting the bounces and all that type of stuff, but they’re working hard for the bounces and they’re making it happen.”

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