|29-7-9, 1.488 p/g||Ranks||14-26-5 .734 p/g|
|Western Conference: 3rd||Western Conference: 14th|
- Oilers find the elusive win column after an 0-2-2 run. Jordan Eberle led the way, Taylor Hall was good, and things really broke down for Tampa Bay when Sweet Lou Gazdic was tipping shots in front of the net. Edmonton faces a tall drink of water in the St. Louis Blues, who are on a five game winning streak. Edmonton also faces the task of wiping out the memory of a 6-0 drubbing when these teams met for the first time this season in December.
The Oilers are saying
"There were certainly some shifts in the second period where we didn't play well, but for the most part, our effort was good."
That's Oilers forward Taylor Hall on Edmonton's effort in a 5-3 win versus Tampa Bay.
Kind of a weird game. Ben Bishop leaves early with an injury, the Oilers allow the first goal, score three, then let Tampa right back into it. The third period was kind to the Oilers (for once), as they were the only team to score two goals, a stark change from the third periods that you and I know all too well. You know, the ones where the Oilers get outshot by some ungodly 22-5 margin, there's a goalie meltdown, and all hell breaks loose? That didn't happen on Sunday. Quite the opposite, really.
Let's all hold hands and hope it doesn't happen tonight.
The Opponent is saying
"There have some really great teams in this franchise's history"
- Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start against St. Louis. Bryzgalov (3-5-2, 3.11/.908) engaged head Oilers writer Chris Wescott in an awkward interview with about his new mask.
- Two points for Taylor Hall in his last game gives him 41 in 38 games on the year. By the time you've read this, it's quite likely he's been bypassed by Canada's Olympic Team for Chris Kunitz. Oh well. Their loss.
- The Blues are a very good hockey club. Their last game saw them dismantle the Blue Jackets by a 6-2 score, giving them their fifth win in a row. Leading scorer Alexander Steen is out with a concussion, but a first line with T.J. Oshie and David Backes should keep the Oilers busy.
- He's not likely to start, but keep a cautionary glance on Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Halak has a nice W/L record at 17-6-3, but his SV% is only .907 on the year. In 16 games last year, Halak's SV% was an even less impressive .899. He's an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, and while he might look like a decent option in goal for Edmonton, he hasn't been very good since 2011-12 when he stuck a .926 SV%. I'm a little concerned that he might be the guy that management throws a suitcase full of cash at for a three or four year term, and that frightens me a bit.
- Speaking of goaltenders, I had a quick conversation with Lowetide who made note of the Islanders' Evgeni Nabakov going down with what looks like a groin injury. Lowetide suggested it might be a good landing spot for Devan Dubnyk, as the Islanders are running sparse with Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson until they do something. Just don't send us Kevin Poulin in return.
The Edmonton Oilers
Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - David Perron
Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky
Luke Gazdic - Mark Arcobello - Ryan Jones
Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz - Brad Hunt
Jeff Petry - Martin Marincin
The St. Louis Blues
Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Tarasenko
Brenden Morrow - Derek Roy - Chris Stewart
Magnus Paajarvi - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves
Alex Pietrangelo - Jay Bouwmeester
Kevin Shattenkirk - Barret Jackman
Ian Cole - Jordan Leopold