The Columbus Blue Jackets took the lead twice on Sunday, but fell victim to a five-goal barrage from the Edmonton Oilers in the second period. To the surprise of no one, the Blue Jackets, who have only won twice all season when trailing after 40 minutes, ended up losing 6-3. As a result, Columbus now has the kind of peace of mind that no other team in the NHL has obtained. They know that their remaining games can’t help or hurt them from a rankings perspective, because no matter what they do, they will finish the season with the worst record in the league.
Of course, Edmonton won’t fare much better in 2011-12, but it’s games like this one that give them hope for the future. Even without 2010 first overall pick Taylor Hall available, the Oilers’ youth still played a prominent role in this victory. Calder Trophy contender Ryan Nugent-Hopkins registered two assists and sophomore breakout Jordan Eberle did just as well. 25-year-old rookie Chris VandeVelde netted his first NHL goal while Sam Gagner, who is still just 22, set a new career-high with his 17th goal of the campaign.
Gagner is of course best known for his four-goal, eight-point game on Feb. 2 and the hot streak to follow. While he’s fallen back to Earth since then, he has heated up lately with two goals and four points in his last four games.
The highlight of the game from Columbus’ perspective was probably Rick Nash scoring on a penalty shot which, at the time, game them a 2-1 lead. You can view his goal and the other game highlights below.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Of course, if you’re a Blue Jackets fan, seeing Nash have a good game has to give you mixed feelings. Nash was looking to be dealt before the trade deadline and rather than hope to build a team around him, Columbus is probably just looking to squeeze as much as they can out of a Nash trade over the summer. But hey, at least the Blue Jackets are in a great position going into the draft lottery.