The Oilers and Blues hadn’t played a game since December 19th, so it was expected to see a little rust from both sides before things started flowing as normal.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, there was a bit more rust than they probably would have liked.
THE QUICK, THE DIRTY
The Blues exposed rookie defenceman Dmitri Samorukov early in the first period, twice. The Oilers were able to climb back in it with goals from Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard, but Vladimir Tarasenko put this one away after scoring the game winner late in the second. Brandon Saad put a nail in it on the power play early in the third period, and the Oilers will look to make it a better day on Friday in New Jersey.
A BIT MORE
Dmitri Samorukov will not want to watch the game tape, though he’ll probably see it a few dozen times between now and his next game. Jordan Kyrou gets the puck behind Samorukov, where it quickly becomes a 2-on-0 for the Blues. Robert Thomas gets an easy goal for the Blues, who are quickly up 1-0.
The Oilers would find themselves down 2-0 shortly after Thomas’ goal. It’s another goal that Dmitri Samorukov would like to hit the rubbish bin with, this time it’s Jordan Kyrou putting the moves on the young defenceman and cashing out. Mike Smith would have no chance on the save, and it would be the last ice time that Samorukov would see on the night.
Things could really have gotten out of hand here, but Leon Draisaitl is able to bury the biscuit just over 30 seconds later. Draisaitl’s got space, and he’s got a half a second. His goal cuts the Blues lead in half, 2-1.
Period one would conclude with the Oilers trailing the Blues by a 2-1 margin. It wasn’t a bad place to be considering the two goals that the Oilers conceded to start the game.
The Oilers would tie it up midway through the second period when Evan Bouchard picked up a wild rebound from a Connor McDavid shot that careened around above the right faceoff dot.
That one had eyes. They all count. It’s 2-2 and good enough for now.
With just under five minutes remaining in the second, Vladimir Tarasenko is eager to score his third point of the night on a pass from Jordan Kyrou. Kyrou freezes Oilers defenceman Duncan Keith and Tarasenko has open season on Oilers goaltender Mike Smith to make it 3-2 Blues.
The 3-2 score would hold until the end of the second period, but the Blues would pick up a power play to start the third after Evan Bouchard got flagged for hooking Ryan O’Reilly. It would take the Blues sixteen seconds to cash in. Brandon Saad would clean up a rebound in front of Mike Smith to double up the score by a 4-2 margin.
Those were the goals. Mike Smith would flee his crease with a couple of minutes remaining in the third, but the Oilers couldn’t sneak another past Jordan Binnington. 4-2 Blues, final.
- Oilers were forced again to juggle lines prior to the game. Warren Foegele was up top with Zach Hyman to the right of McDavid. Devin Shore found a home on the third line, while the DRY line stayed intact.
- Dmitri Samorukov didn’t have a great night. He had exactly 2:28 of ice time, was on the ice for two bad goals, and was promptly shelved for more Duncan Keith and Slater Koekkoek. I understand Tippett wanting to send his young defenceman a message, I’m just not sure if stapling him to the bench for the last 53 minutes of the game was good for him, or the team. Duncan Keith played over 26 minutes and Slater Koekkoek played over 20. That’s about nine more minutes for both of those players than you want to see.
- The five D thing? That was all Jim Playfair. Yeah, that’s it.
- Mike Smith played his first game in ten weeks last night after coming back from a lower body injury sustained in October. He got beat on a 2-on-none, an additional goal that Jordan Kyrou was able to walk right in, the Tarasenko goal that froze Duncan Keith in 2013 and a PPG that Brandon Saad scored off the rebound. Really nothing detrimental to say about Smith’s game after ten weeks away, even though the Blues scored four.
- The Oilers are slated to get Jesse Puljujärvi, Darnell Nurse and William Lagesson back for Friday’s matinee against the Devils, which is probably the best news the Oilers could get after this one.
- Oilers will look to get the taste of this one out with a refreshing visit to New Jersey for an early one tomorrow.