NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 23rd
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (16-11-2) at Edmonton Oilers (11-11-7), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers will try to close a four-game
homestand on a positive note when they host the St. Louis Blues in Saturday's
clash at Rexall Place.
The Oilers are 1-0-2 so far on the residency, pushing their point streak to
five games (3-0-2) after starting March with five straight losses.
Although Edmonton is currently sitting 13th in the Western Conference, the
Oilers are only three points out of a playoff spot. The club is desperate for
a run to the playoffs, having missed the postseason in six straight years
since making a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Finals in the spring of 2006.
The Oilers, who are 5-4-4 at home this season, followed Sunday's 3-2 win over
Nashville with a shootout loss Wednesday against San Jose. Dan Boyle scored
the winner in the deciding phase, lifting the Sharks to the 4-3 road win.
With the final shot, Boyle dipped his shoulder then skated to the right before
stuffing the puck past a sprawled-out Devan Dubnyk for the win.
Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Jones all lit the lamp in regulation for
the Oilers, who blew a two-goal lead in the third period. Dubnyk stopped 31
shots in the loss.
The Oilers had taken a 3-1 lead 4:07 into the third when Jones stole the puck
behind the net and tucked it in from the right side on a wraparound, but the
Sharks rallied for the next two.
Less than three minutes later on the power play, Logan Couture and Boyle
worked the puck after a scrum in front with Couture's one-timer from the right
circle finding the back of the net. It was a tie game at the 9:15 mark as
Tommy Wingels' quick shot from the top of the left circle off a turnover beat
"We knew that they weren't going to give up," said Jones. "Unfortunately a
couple of bounces that ended up in the back of net for them. We just haven't
played that well with the lead it seems and it was just one of those games
where I thought we deserved the two points."
The Oilers played Wednesday without forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who missed
the test with flu-like symptoms. The first overall pick of the 2011 NHL draft
is questionable for Saturday.
The Blues will try to get back on track Saturday after having a three-game win
streak halted in the opener of a three-game road trip. St. Louis was dealt a
3-2 regulation loss Tuesday in Vancouver, which scored all three of its goals
in the second period.
Dale Weise's second-period tally gave the Canucks a 3-0 lead and the club was
able to hold off the Blues in third period. Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund
each scored once in the third, but St. Louis winger Vladimir Sobotka was
whistled for boarding with just over three minutes left in regulation to
handcuff the Blues' comeback bid.
Jake Allen allowed all three goals on 19 shots for the Blues, who had won five
of their last six entering Tuesday's tilt.
"They're top players started to really dial it up in the second and we didn't
have an answer for about 10 or 12 minutes," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock
admitted. "We got great effort from Sobotka's line, but other than that we
didn't get much of a push."
St. Louis, which will complete its swing Sunday in Calgary, is 8-6-1 as the
road team this season.
The Blues won the first of their three encounters with Edmonton on March 1,
posting a 4-2 home victory to win for the seventh time in the last eight
meetings. St. Louis also has won two of three and four of its past six games
at Rexall Place.
Edmonton and St. Louis will wrap its season series on Tuesday, when the Blues
host a rematch at Scottrade Center.
03/23 11:05:48 ET