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Top Two Scorers Face Off As Oilers Visit Blues

Edmonton's Connor McDavid (39 points) and St. Louis' Vladimir Tarasenko (37 points) look to light the lamp tonight.

Tarasenko is second in league scoring with 37 points
Tarasenko is second in league scoring with 37 points
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

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16-12-5, 37 points, 1.121 p/g- Ranks 17-14-4, 38 points, 1.218 p/g
Pacific Division - 3rd Central Division - 3rd
14th P/G 11th
8th ST 5th
5th S/G 21st
13th Goal 21st
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ScottTrade Center

The opposing view

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle
Patrick Maroon - Leon Draisaitl - Drake Caggiula
Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-  Tyler Pitlick
Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian


Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Brandon Davidson - Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot
Jonas Gustavsson

McDavid, Again

A 2-2 tie wouldn't be settled by a five minute overtime, and everyone's favourite method of determining the end to a mid-December regular season matchup would be necessary.  Mark Letestu would pop one in for the Oilers, while Jonathan Drouin would knot it up at 1 in the shootout.  Then, some kid named Connor McDavid would drive home the eventual winner with his first career shootout marker. Cam Talbot turned aside Brian Boyle's attempt, and the Oilers emerged victorious, taking two much needed points to maintain third place in the Pacific Division.

Edmonton is in St. Louis tonight to take on a Blues team that's 21st overall in goals allowed.  Can the Oilers keep their power play humming?  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

That's Oilers forward Matt Hendricks on his line's role against Tampa Bay this past Saturday.

I ain't gonna lie, I totally used this quote because of the "We controlled our dumps" line.

Matt Hendricks was acquired in the deal that sent Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators nearly three years ago. (time flies, eh?) The nice part about Hendricks is that he was an actual, serviceable NHL player upon his arrival.  The part that stinks right now is that the thirty-five year old Hendricks has outlasted his serviceability on this NHL roster. The Oilers might be able to ship him to an NHL playoff hopeful  for a conditional draft pick around the trade deadline, but having Hendricks on the depth chart as anything other than the 14th forward right now does no service to the team.

In nine games, Hendricks has one assist.  Play Jesse Puljujarvi or send him to the AHL.

The opponents are saying

That's Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko on his team leading 37 points.

Tarasenko (15-22-37) says he's not following the stats, which, if true, then good for him.  He's trailing NHL leader Connor McDavid (12-27-39) by just two points, and barring anything wacky, will lead his team in scoring by a country mile.  Defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk (7-15-22) is a distant second.  Oooh look, a defenceman!

Have some of this

  • LINE SWITCH: Benoit Pouliot is back in for Taylor Beck.  Beck made his NHL debut on Saturday against the Lightning, picking up 5:23 in ice time and a couple penalty minutes.
  • PULJUJARVI: What's the deal here?  Play him or play him in the AHL.  Puljujarvi's last appearance was six days ago against Columbus, where he played 10:07 in total ice time.  I got no time for this.
  • Cam Talbot will go tonight for the Oilers (15-10-4, .916 SV% / 2.54 GAA / 3 SO) while Carter Hutton (2-4-1, ..889 SV% / 2.92 GAA) will go for St. Louis.  The game will be Hutton's first start since December 3rd, a 3-2 OTL against the Jets.
  • FERTILE POWER PLAY GARDENS:  2/6 isn't bad, as the Oilers scored both of their regulation goals on the power play on Saturday. Oilers' power play is sixth in the league at 22.2%.
  • Looks like Nail Yakupov is going to start tonight on the top line with centre Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz.  Yak is 3-3-6 in 20 games since being dealt to the St. Louis Blues for a conditional third round pick and ECHL forward Zach Pochiro.
  • Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Mark Fayne (groin), and Darnell Nurse (lower body) will be out for the Oilers. The Blues will be without defenceman Robert Bortuzzo (lower body)