EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - The youth movement led the way for the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Linus Omark scored his first career goal and added two assists, and fellow rookie Jordan Eberle had a pair of goals to lead the Oilers to a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Five Edmonton rookies combined for 11 points, with Taylor Hall adding three assists, Magnus Paarjarvi a goal and an assist, and Ryan O'Marra kicking in with an assist.
``Scoring my first goal, that is a dream come true,' Omark said. ``I decided before the game that I was gong to play my game and not worry about making mistakes. I felt really good.'
Dustin Penner, Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers (12-14-5), who snapped a two-game skid to improve to 6-2-1 in their last nine games.
Oilers head coach Tom Renney was pleased even after his team was lucky enough to emerge with a lead despite absorbing a barrage of 23 shots in the first period.
``We just kind of slid around in the first period and watched (Nikolai Khabibulin) make some neat saves,' he said. ``Then they decided to go play. You have to string three periods together for sure. But when you look at what the young guys did, it's fun.'
Kristian Huselius scored all three goals for the Blue Jackets (16-12-3), who have lost six in a row and nine of their last 11.
It was another tough night for Columbus goalie Steve Mason, who has only one win in his last seven starts. Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arneil said the decision to pull Mason after the first wasn't an easy one.
``We've got about 50 games to play and sooner or later the kid's got to find a way to battle himself out of this,' Arneil said.
``It's part of him maturing as a goaltender. He's in his own head right now and is probably his worst enemy. He has to be a big part of our hockey club if we are gong to have success.'
Omark scored 4 minutes into the game when he chipped the puck in while crossing the blue-line and then kicked the rebound up to his stick with his skate before putting it past Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason.
Columbus quickly tied it just over a minute later as Huselius fought off Colin Fraser to get to a puck in front of the net and poked it in before goalie Nikolai Khabibulin could get across.
Just past the halfway mark of the first period, Eberle put a deceptive backhand shot past Mason while being angled away from the net to put the Oilers ahead 2-1.
Huselius tied it again with a power-play goal into a wide-open net after hauling in a rebound.
Edmonton once again regained the lead with just 31 seconds to play on a power play when Omark made a beautiful pass through his own legs to Penner on the doorstep.
Khabibulin was sensational in the first period as Edmonton was badly outshot 23-13. He finished with 37 saves.
The Oilers gave themselves a two-goal cushion early into the second as Eberle tipped in a Ryan Whitney shot for his second goal. Eberle now has nine goals this season, moving him into a tie for rookie scoring with Carolina's Jeff Skinner and San Jose's Logan Couture at 22 points.
Whitney's two assists gave him 24 this season, and though he has no goals, he still leads the team in scoring.
``I just can't believe I have all these points and not one of them is a goal,' Whitney said. ``I've never experienced it. I'm really pleased with my game other than that. If I get one, even better.'
Edmonton went up 5-2 with just over five minutes left in the second period as Omark did a nice job gaining the zone and took a shot on Mason with Paajarvi putting in the rebound.
Edmonton scored again just 49 seconds later as Taylor Hall stole the puck in the Columbus zone and dished it to Gagner. It was Hall's third assist of the game.
Mathieu Garon came in to replace Mason to start the third.
Huselius got his third goal with just 1:07 remaining, deflecting a Antoine Vermette shot.
Notes: It was the second meeting of the year between the two teams. The Blue Jackets won the first contest in Columbus 3-2 in a shootout in late October. ... The Blue Jackets were playing their fifth game in eight nights. ... Columbus F Ethan Moreau made his first trip to Edmonton since being claimed off waivers from the Oilers by the Jackets in the offseason. The former Oilers captain spent 11 seasons in Edmonton. ... Huselius played his second game after missing 22 with an ankle injury. ... Columbus winger Jared Boll returned after missing the last three games with a back injury. ... The Oilers remained without the services of Ales Hemsky (groin), Shawn Horcoff (knee) and Jim Vandermeer (ankle).
The Associated Press News Service
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