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Game Thread: Blues @ Oilers - Always Alright

No matter the result, we're always alright.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues have been the team the Oilers should be for a few years. They're going to dominate the Oilers at even strength and the special teams might be a draw, but the Oilers have a significant edge in goaltending. They might steal one.

Team Reports

Yesterday on Team 1260, Ryan Rishaug had an interesting take on the Oilers at the deadline. Rishaug suggested the Oilers might choose to keep Whitney, Smid, Fistric and Jones–that would be the club’s commitment to the team–if they were in a position to contend for the post-season.
As a fan, I hate it. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Hey, I’m in my 50′s here people, can we possibly get some freaking urgency at some point? I don’t have forever!

Oilers Report: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has dysentery and is likely out of the lineup for this one. Eric Belanger is somewhat healthy and will draw back in. This leaves Ryan Smyth on the 4th line between Lennart Petrell and Mike Brown, AKA the "Late game shutdown line"

More disconcerting are the leaks from the team that they're considering hanging on to their gaggle of free agents to make a run at the playoffs. If the Oilers can get anything, even the Mike Brown pick back, for Ryan Whitney, they need to take it and run. As for Smid - the Oilers have to sign him before the deadline or trade him. If they go to the off-season with Smid unsigned, his agent must realize how shallow the UFA pool is for defense and up his asking price. I do like the idea of getting Mike Weaver for a 2nd round pick and giving up Smid for a 1st round pick.

Blues Report: The Blues' skaters are dominant at even strength and on special teams, but coach Ken Hitchcock has been unexpectedly let down by Jaroslav Halak and expectedly let down by Brian Elliott in goal. Vladimir Tarasenko has appeared in two games since returning from a concussion and had an assist in each game. Hitchcock has used Tarasenko in a sheltered role and the tactic has been a great success. Another more subtle tactic has been Hitchcock's use of Chris Stewart as a tag-along on a line with David Backes and Alex Steen. The two can drive play and have done so - the result is Stewart becoming a highly valuable trade asset.

Expected Line Combinations

Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky

Magnus Paajarvi - Sam Gagner - Nail Yakupov

Ryan Jones - Ryan Smyth - Jordan Eberle

Mike Brown - Eric Belanger - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Mark Fistric

Ryan Whitney - Justin Schultz

Nikolai Khabibulin

Scratches: Theo Peckham, Teemu Hartikainen, Corey Potter

Broadcast Information

Rexall Place, 8:00 pm MST
Radio - 630 CHED

By The Numbers

Edmonton and St. Louis are tied for 4th in the league in STE.

Edmonton is 8th in EV save percentage, St. Louis is 28th.

St. Louis is 2nd in Fenwick close, Edmonton is 27th.

Based on the above, it should go to a shootout.