Everything lined up perfectly for Dustin Penner and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Penner scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season and added three assists in the Oilers‘ 6-4 comeback victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I was trying to set small goals first, I wasn’t expecting to see my name up with the league leaders,” said Penner, fourth in NHL in scoring with 14 points.
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“That would have to be the best game of my career, certainly statistically. The stars lined up for me and my linemates tonight. It feels really good. I don’t know the last time I was on a team that bounced back from down as much as we were. That’s one of the games where you know the true meaning of momentum.”
Linemate Ales Hemsky also had a five-point night, finishing with a goal and four assists to help the Oilers rebound from a 4-1 deficit.
Sam Gagner had a goal and two assists, and Lubomir Visnovsky and Robert Nilsson added goals for Edmonton in its third straight victory and fifth in six games.
“It’s huge for us to win a game like this,” Hemsky said. “It’s very good for our confidence. Hopefully we can build on this.”
It was the first time coach Pat Quinn put together the Penner-Hemsky-Gagner combo.
“That was a pretty good line tonight,” Quinn said. “All three of them were excellent. They played against that Rick Nash unit most of the night and seemed to relish in the challenge. I think it helped them stay sharp. I’m really proud of the way we stuck together as a team and came back. It was a pretty good result at the end of the night but I don’t know if I want to do that roller coaster every night.”
Kristian Huselius had two goals, and Raffi Torres and Jason Chimera also scored for Columbus. The Blue Jackets opened their four-game trip Tuesday night with a loss in Calgary.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot,” Nash said. “We had that game, up 4-1 on the road. We should definitely have won that. Our power play wasn’t very good. We have to get over this one quick. We’ll move on. It’s a long season.”
After Chimera gave Columbus a 4-1 lead at 11:52 of the second, Penner countered 17 seconds later and Hemsky made it 4-3 with a power-play goal with 1:05 left in the period.
Penner tied it on a power play at 6:04 of the third, and Visnovsky – off assists from Penner and Hemsky – gave the Oilers the lead at 10:43. Nilsson had an empty-net goal with 17 seconds left.
Oilers forward Gilbert Brule missed his second consecutive game because of the flu. … Oilers enforcer Steve MacIntyre played for the first time this season, replacing Ryan Stone (knee). … Blue Jackets forward Nikita Filatov played after being a healthy scratch the past three games. … Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon, a former Oiler, made his second start of the season.