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Oilers snap losing skid as Roloson blanks Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It was nearly a must-win game for the struggling Edmonton Oilers.

Dwayne Roloson made 28 saves for his 22nd career shutout and Edmonton snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Shawn Horcoff had his first two-goal game of the season for the Oilers, who entered the game having dropped to 10th place and eight points out of the last Western Conference playoff spot.

"We're playing for our lives here," said Horcoff, who also added an assist. "It was pretty intense for us. It was a good win to build on."

Ryan Smyth scored his 30th goal and added two assists and Ladislav Smid also scored for the Oilers, who last season went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

"We did a lot of things well tonight," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We showed pretty high skill level with the way we moved the puck. We were in the right positions defensively, answered the bell physically and got good goaltending. It was a pretty complete effort."

The Blue Jackets were shut out for the 13th time this season, extending their franchise record. Columbus has lost eight of 10 and entered the game with the third-fewest points in the league.

"We had a lot of guys whose performance was well below the bar," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I think there's a focus somewhere else for some people and it showed today."

Edmonton grabbed the momentum early and never relinquished it.

Charging the Columbus net down the right wing, Horcoff scooped up his own rebound off defenseman Rostislav Klesla in the low slot and scored at 2:22.

Smyth led the attack just after Roloson stopped Rick Nash on a breakaway -- one of few quality chances for the Blue Jackets.

"I thought we played a great game," said Roloson, who had lost three straight. "We capitalized on our chances and we were able to sustain a lot of pressure down low."

The Oilers made it 2-0 six minutes later on a nifty power-play goal by Smyth, who has back-to-back -- and four overall -- 30-goal seasons in his 11-year career. He curled near the crease with defenseman Anders Eriksson on his back and slid a backhand past a screened Fredrik Norrena.

"I just luckily got it through," Smyth said.

Smid, a rookie acquired in the offseason from Anaheim in the Chris Pronger trade, made it 3-0 at 5:38 of the second period with his first career goal.

"He [Raffi Torres] went through two guys and made a great pass," Smid said. "It's a great feeling after 50-some games. I waited a long time."

Continuing to dominate the flow of play -- and on another power play -- Smyth centered the puck from behind the net to Horcoff for an easy tap-in and his 15th goal of the season.

"Right now points are really critical for us to get," Roloson said.

Game notes
Columbus has allowed seven man-advantage goals in the past three games. ... Edmonton, which lost its past three games by one goal, has two more games to play on a season-long seven-game (1-5) road trip. ... Columbus starting goalie Pascal Leclaire will miss at least a week after recently aggravating his left knee, which was surgically repaired in late December. ... Edmonton rookie defenseman Tom Gilbert took a heavy hit from Jody Shelley in the first period and did not return.