Blues continue road trip in Edmonton
Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 11:50 PM
NHL.comBLUES (39-17-7) at OILERS (25-31-6)
: FS-Midwest (HD), SNET-West
: St. Louis 7-3-0; Edmonton 4-5-1.
: This is the fourth and final meeting of the season, with the home team winning each. St. Louis leads the series 2-1 on the strength of two Scottrade Center victories in January, but Edmonton fared well against the Central Division leaders, falling by a single goal in each.
: St. Louis will try for its first four-game road winning streak since the 2008-09 season (February - March) when it faces Edmonton on Wednesday. The Blues have used the first three games to pull into the Central Division lead, and trail Vancouver by just two points for the League's best record. Edmonton won't be an easy mark, however, as the Oilers have won three of four against playoff-quality opposition.
: Lately, St. Louis has been just as lethal on the road as they have been all season under the Gateway Arch. The Blues started this six-game road swing with two shootout wins – over Nashville and Winnipeg, both by 3-2 scores – and most recently downed Calgary, 3-1, on Monday night. It was the third straight game in which the Blues led heading into the first intermission, and Jason Arnott
scored twice on the power play for St. Louis to seal the win. Jaroslav Halak
made 20 saves – including all 13 over the final two periods – for his third straight victory.
"We've got great chemistry in here ... and we've got some key guys out for us right now that are going to help us down the stretch and in the playoffs," Arnott said.
: For a team all but mathematically eliminated from the postseason, Edmonton is playing some impressive hockey. The Oilers won two of three heading into a hostile MTS Centre to face the surprising Jets. The Oilers entered the third period down 2-1, but Edmonton exploded for four straight goals – from four different Oilers – as Winnipeg couldn't contain the Oilers' attack.
"I like the way we handled the game in general," coach Tom Renney said. "It was a bit of a track meet at times, naturally. Certainly being able to come out and really go to work in the third period was important to us."
: Arnott has 2 goals and 2 assists over his last four games. … Taylor Hall has 3 goals and 3 assists over the same span.
: St. Louis will be without four key components. Kris Russell
(concussion-like symptoms), Jamie Langenbrunner
(broken left foot), Matt D'Agostini
(concussion) and Alexander Steen
(concussion-like symptoms) are all on injured reserve. … Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin missed Monday's game with a strained groin. Theo Peckham is on injured reserve with a facial injury.
: The difference Tuesday could reside in the blue paint. Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk is 0-5-0 with a 4.67 goals-against average in five career stars. Halak and Brian Elliott
– by far the NHL's most dependable goalie tandem this season – enter Tuesday in the NHL's top five for GAA, and Elliott is 3-0-0 with a 1.95 GAA lifetime at Rexall Place.
: Ryan Smyth's assist on Jordan Eberle's team-high 28th goal in the third gave him his 800th career point.
"Good for Ryan," Renney said. "He's certainly been a heart and soul guy in this organization, and his second go-around makes you feel like he'd never left. And I know he's very much appreciated by the whole organization."