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Jackets Win Franchise-Best Fifth Straight

Thursday, 02.02.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Jackets Win Franchise-Best Fifth Straight
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- Jason Chimera celebrated his return home by beating his former team.

The Edmonton native and former Oilers forward scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the Oilers on Thursday night.

"It's great coming back here," said Chimera, after faking a forehand shot and flipping a backhand over Jussi Markkanen to net the game-winner. "We never say die."

Chimera was traded by both Edmonton and Phoenix this season before landing in Columbus.

"I was pursuing Jason when he was playing for the Oilers," Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean said. "I was happy for him."

Columbus won its fifth straight to set a franchise record. Nikolai Zherdev scored his team-leading 17th goal with 3:06 left in the third period to tie the game at 1 for the Blue Jackets.

"We're playing simple hockey, we're playing basic hockey," Blue Jackets captain Adam Foote said. "Early in the year we would press."

Jaroslav Balastik, Zherdev and Trevor Letowski also scored in the shootout for the Blue Jackets.

The Oilers had shootout goals from Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani and Jarret Stoll.

It was the second shootout win for Columbus in as many days. The Blue Jackets beat Calgary 2-1 in a shootout Wednesday.

"I think we are as good as most teams in the West," said MacLean. "When we are healthy we will challenge most teams."

Steve Staios scored in the third period for Edmonton, after being left alone in the high slot just minutes after serving his second penalty of the game.

The Oilers saw a three-game win streak end as they lost a fifth straight game at Rexall Place.

Edmonton had a five-shot flurry in the third period, but Marc Denis, making his third straight start, stood his ground. Denis finished with 27 saves for the Blue Jackets and was surprisingly solid considering he was woken up early Thursday by Montreal media wondering if he had been traded to the Canadiens.

"I hope to be a Blue Jacket for a long time," said the Montreal native, who has been with the team since it entered the NHL in 2000.

The scoreless second period saw Oilers defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron make two saves after Markkanen jumped out of his net to play the puck, and Denis robbing Ryan Smyth from in close for one of his 13 saves in the period.

"Just instinct," Bergeron said. "I just went down and stayed."

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