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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. St. Louis Blues

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Oilers look to close out homestand with two points against the Cup Champs.

St. Louis Blues v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (26-18-6) 3rd, Pacific vs

St. Louis Blues (31-12-8) 1st, Central

31 January 2020

Rogers Place

7 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: St. Louis Game Time

ONE MORE POINT

The Oilers were close. How close? Goalpost close, at least on two occasions. The Calgary Flames would seize the two points from Edmonton in a 4-3 shootout. Everybody got a little bit of what they wanted in this one. Zack Kassian had his four second fight with Matthew Tkachuk, there was an impromptu skirmish between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Monahan, Matt Benning scored the game-tying goal, Kailer Yamamoto had his fourth of the year, and things could easily have shifted Edmonton’s way at the end. Unfortunately, they did not. The Oilers took one point, Calgary took two. The bright side? Edmonton has two games in hand versus Calgary (the Flames have 60 points, Edmonton 58), they’ve got a game in hand on Vancouver (62 points, first in the Pacific) and they’ve got three games on Arizona (58 points, 4th in the Pacific).

The Western Conference leading Blues will visit Edmonton this evening. St. Louis leads the Central Division with 70 points, and they’ve got points in seven of their last ten. Can the Oilers take two points from last year’s Stanley Cup Champions?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

It’s always tough coming back from a break, and our team has not been very good when we have come back from breaks,...But I thought they scored a little bit of a fluky one to start, and it puts us a little bit behind the eight ball, but we did a good job battling back, earning ourselves a point, and then losing in a skills competition”

Source

That’s Oilers captain Connor McDavid on his club’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Oilers have just one point out of a possible six versus Calgary (0-2-1) this season.

THE BLUES ARE SAYING

It’s tough to come off [the break] and have two back-to-back games against teams that play heavy and have speed. It’s tough, but we have to find the staples of our game and get to our structure. It is good though. We got two points tonight. Last night (against the Canucks), they were available, and we didn’t get them. We have to keep building and keep growing our game and get back on track here.

Source

That’s Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly on his club’s 5-4 shootout victory over the Flames on Tuesday night.

The Blues lead the Central Division by eight points. The Oilers look to keep it from becoming ten points tonight.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • IT’S TIME: It’s about time. The Oilers have called up Tyler Benson (AHL: 9-26-35) after learning that Joakim Nygard may have broken a bone blocking a shot in Thursday’s loss to the Flames. The Oilers are also bringing up William Lagesson as Kris Russell enters concussion protocol. A safe play would be to slide Benson into Nygard’s slot on the third line, a bold move would be to try him up top with Connor McDavid. Benson is a local product and will hear the crowd tonight if he makes his NHL debut.
  • A PAIR OF 77s: Both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are holding the 1 and 2 point spots down with 77 points each. If they keep playing ball like they’re playing, they’re looking at 120ish points at the conclusion of the season. Not too bad.
  • POINTS EVERYWHERE: The Oilers are entering a weekend with four points in play. There’s tonight against the Blues, they’re right back at it tomorrow versus the Flames. Things would look pretty good with a point or two tonight and two more tomorrow.
  • THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: David Perron (remember him?) leads the Blues in scoring with 52 points (22-30-52) in 51 games. Ryan O’Reilly is right behind with 44 points (9-35-44) and Brayden Schenn comes in third at 42 points (17-25-42). O’Reilly and Perron are usually on a line together, they’re a pair to watch out for. Crazy to think that Perron is on his third stint with St. Louis and now leads the club in scoring.
  • HARD TO DEFEAT: The Blues are having another great season so far. Imagine doing all of this without Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s been out since October with shoulder surgery? Imagine being able to use Tarasenko’s LTIR to acquire a top six rental for the deadline?
  • NET GAINS: Which goaltender do you start tonight? Which one tomorrow? I’ve got Smith tonight (12-9-4, .901 SV% / 2.96 GAA / 1 SO) and Mikko Koskinen tomorrow. The Blues are likely to roll with Jordan Binnington (23-8-5, .918 SV% / 2.62 GAA / 1 SO).
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers had one whole day without anyone on the injury report. Today, Joakim Nygard (upper body) and Kris Russell (concussion protocol) are out. The Blues will be without Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Alexander Steen (lower body), Oskar Sundqvist (lower body) and Mackenzie McEachern (lower body).