Blues hope to run the table, beginning against Oilers
Sunday, 03.28.2010 / 4:00 PMOILERS (24-43-7) at BLUES (35-30-9)
Edmonton 4-5-1; St. Louis 5-5-0
Fourth and final meeting of the regular season. The road team has won each of the first three matchups. The Oilers earned their fifth consecutive road win at the time with Gilbert Brule scoring twice to pace a 5-2 win in St. Louis on Dec. 11. The Blues responded by claiming victories in Edmonton of 7-2 on Dec. 21 and 2-1 on Jan. 28. Andy McDonald
scored twice in the former game, while Chris Mason stopped 24 shots in the latter.
Even winning out over their final eight games probably wouldn't be enough to save the Blues, who trail by double digits in the race for the final Western Conference playoff berth. The Oilers might look like an automatic two points, but they haven't laid down as their disappointing season draws to a close. Prior to a loss against Anaheim on Friday, Edmonton had won three in a row.
Making a bid to sweep a four-game homestand, Edmonton took Anaheim into the latter stages of the third period tied 1-1 on Friday. But a pair of power-play goals by Corey Perry helped the Ducks deal the Oilers a 3-2 defeat. Prior to that, Edmonton had disposed of Detroit, San Jose and Vancouver, all playoff teams at the rate the Red Wings are currently going.
"That was definitely disappointing because we've played some pretty good hockey at home and that was definitely a winnable game in our minds," forward Patrick O'Sullivan said.
Playing .500 hockey over its past 10 games didn't help St. Louis gain any ground in the West -- with the surge Detroit has been on lately, it only sent them spiraling downward. The Blues lost a crucial game to the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, falling 4-2, and although they rebounded Thursday with a 3-1 home win over the Kings, the damage was already done.
"We're going to keep on winning hockey games," coach Davis Payne said. "Until they tell us we're not eligible (for the playoffs), we're going to make sure that hey, if there's fight left in us, we're going to put it out there, here at home (or) on the road.
"Stranger things have happened and we intend to keep winning until the games run out."
Andrew Cogliano has two goals and two assists for the Oilers in the last four games. Tom Gilbert has a goal and three assists in the last three games. Brule has a goal and three assists in the last four games. Marc Pouliot has two goals and three assists in the last six games. Robert Nilsson has two goals in the last three games. Shawn Horcoff and Fernando Pisani each have a goal and two assists in the last three games.
Paul Kariya has goals in consecutive games and four in his last seven for the Blues. Carlo Colaiacovo
has a goal and two assists in the last three games.
Edmonton forward Sam Gagner is day-to-day with a hip injury. Out for the remainder of the season are goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (back), defensemen Sheldon Souray (hand), Ladislav Smid (neck) and Theo Peckham (shoulder) and forwards Ales Hemsky (shoulder), Ryan Stone (knee), Jean-Francois Jacques (back) and Ryan Jones (MCL).
Mason boasts a 4-0-2 career record with a 1.62 goals-against average when facing the Oilers. … Since winning in St. Louis, Edmonton has gone 1-16-1 on the road.
The Blues remain the League's worst home team, with a 13-18-5 record. Running the table might not get them into playoffs, but it would at least give them 41 points out of 41 games at Scottrade Center.