EDMONTON -- Something had to give.
The Columbus Jackets were struggling terribly on the road (3-9-2) in their last 14 while the Edmonton Oilers were 0-7-5 when coming home from a road trip of two games or longer.
In the end, it was the Oilers coming out on top as Ales Hemsky scored with 3:08 left in regulation to keep Edmonton's slim playoff hopes alive with a 6-4 victory at Rexall Place.
They had to come back three times to do it.
The Oilers came out with yet another of their inexplicably slow starts in a big game, giving up the first goal 10 seconds after the opening faceoff, falling behind 9-1 on the shot-clock and giving up the 2-0 goal at 12:04.
The Atkinson quick strike tied the fastest goal from the start of a game in Columbus franchise history and was two seconds shy of tying the fastest goal against the Oilers in their history (Tim Kerr in 1989).
The lowest scoring team in the NHL was lighting it up, which was kind of ironic given that Columbus had been outscored 19-7 in the first period this year.
Just as the fans were clearing their throats for some more booing, Magnus Paajarvi stopped the bleeding with his seventh goal of the season and third in three games against Columbus.
Edmonton did some early damage of their own in the second, with Jordan Eberle scoring his third goal in two games, some nice deke work through traffic, to make it 2-2 just 39 seconds into the period.
The rest of the frame was rather uneventful until everything broke loose in about a 90-second span. First, a puck banked in off Matt Calvert's skate as he was falling down and was inexplicably disallowed after a review, one of the worst review calls ever. The Jackets received a little poetic justice a minute later when Artem Anisimov scored one that counted. But just 30 seconds after that Ryan Jones, Nail Yakupov and Shawn Horcoff connected on a three-way passing play to tie it at 19:05.
Another period, another quick goal. This time 27 seconds in, from Atkinson, to make it 4-3.
Once again, the Oilers tied it, on Corey Potter's point shot.
Hemsky finally put it away for good with an end to end rush. Sam Gagner added an empty-netter in the final minute.
NOTES: Columbus' goal 10 seconds after the opening faceoff was two seconds shy of the fastest goal against Edmonton in franchise history. The record is eight seconds by Tim Kerr in 1989. ... Magnus Paajarvi's first-period goal gave him one goal in all three games this season against Columbus. ... The Jackets have points in 13 of their past 14 games (8-1-5) but have struggled on the road (3-9-2). ... The Oilers, meanwhile, are 0-7-5 when coming home from a road trip of two games or longer. ... Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has been the best goalie in the NHL for the past month. He was 7-1-3 with a 1.25 GAA and .961 save percentage heading into the game... Oilers defenseman Nick Schultz is four games shy of 800 for his career. ... Columbus left winger Jared Boll is fourth in the NHL in fighting majors with nine. ... Vinny Prospal's next goal will be his 253, giving him sole possession of 10th place among Czech players in NHL history.