Edmonton Oilers vs St. Louis Blues
Location: Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri
Game Time: 7:00 pm Central
TV: Fox Sports Midwest (HD)
Radio: KMOX 1120 AM
The OIlers defeated the Blues 4-2 in Edmonton on October 30th in the their first meeting of the 2011-12 season. Tonight’s tilt is the second in the four game season season.
By The Numbers
Oilers Record: 16-20-3, 5th in Northwest Division and 13th in the Western Conference.
Blues Record: 22-12-5, 3rd in Central Division and 5th in the Western Conference.
Goals For/Game: Edmonton – 2.72 (13th) | St. Louis – 2.54 (21st)
Goals Against/Game: Edmonton – 2.77 (T-15th) | St. Louis – 2.08 (3rd)
Power Play: Edmonton – 21.0% (2nd) | St. Louis – 13.0% (29th)
Penalty Kill: Edmonton – 84.3% (9th) | St. Louis – 82.4% (17th)
Major Penalties: Edmonton – 16 (T-17th most) | St. Louis – 17 (T-14th most)
Fighting Majors: Edmonton – 13 (T-19th most) | St. Louis – 15 (T-17th most)
Minor Penalties: Edmonton – 165 (10th most) | St. Louis – 157 (T-14th most)
Oilers Leading Scorers
1. Jordan Eberle (39gp, 16g, 42p)
2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (38gp, 13g, 35p)
3. Ryan Smyth (39gp, 15g, 32p)
4. Taylor Hall (31gp, 12g, 27p)
5. Shawn Horcoff (39gp, 8g, 22p)
Blues Leading Scorers
1. David Backes (39gp, 11g, 26p)
2. TJ Oshie (37gp, 13g, 25p)
3. Alex Steen (36gp, 13g, 24p)
4. Kevin Shattenkirk (38gp, 5g, 20p)
4. Jason Arnott (38gp, 8g, 20p)
Out for the Blues: Forwards Steen (concussion like symptoms), Andy McDonald (post concussion symptoms), Ryan Reaves (ribs) and defensemen Kent Huskins (ankle), Kris Russel (hip), Ian Cole (suspension)
Out for the Oilers: Forward Nugent-Hopkins (Shoulder) as well as defensemen Alex Plante (concussion) and Cam Barker (ankle). The Oilers website lists defensemen Tom Gilbert (knee) and Ryan Whitney (ankle) as day to day.
According to the Oilers Twitter feed, Whitney is in Charlotte, NC for further evaluation and will rejoin his team in Dallas. Gilbert skated, but left the morning practice early.
Team lineups are always available on DailyFaceoff.com. Any updates from the beat writers will be noted here as well.
Ken Hitchcock said Chris Porter in, Evgeny Grachev out. Rest of lineup stays the same. #stlblues #oilers
Jaroslav Halak will start in net for the Blues. For the season Halak owns an 8-7-5 record with a 2.26 GAA, .911 save percentage and 1 Shutout. In 4 career games against the Oilers Halak is 2-1-1 with a 2.46 GAA and .892 save percentage.
Nikolai Khabibulin is the expected starter for the Oilers. This season the veteran netminder holds an 11-11-3 record with a 2.33 GAA, .922 save percentage and 2 Shutouts. In his career against the Blues, Khabibulin is 21-15-4 with a 2.79 GAA and .909 save percentage in 44 games.
Quick Hits & Tidbits
- Last season Patrik Berglund lead the Blues in scoring vs. Edmonton. In three games he registered 1 goal and 4 points.
- In 4 games against the Oilers last season Backes was held pointless, but maintained a Plus-2 rating while playing 19:21 per game.
- In the Blues’ last 15 games David Perron has played in 14 of them and leads the team with 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) in that time span.
- Edmonton’s leading scorer vs. St. Louis last season was a four way tie between Eberle, Hall, Sam Gagner and the departed Andrew Cogliano. All had two points.
- Only defensemen Tom Gilbert finished with better than an Even Rating against the Blues last season for all players that played them more than once. He logged an average of 24:31 in 4 games against. Ryan Whitney was also a Plus-1, but only played in one game against.
- Khabibulin’s counterpart, Devan Dubnyk, was 0-2-0 against the Blues in 10-11. Allowing 10 goals on 48 shots for a 5.08 GAA and .792 save percentage.
Keys to the Game
- Contain Eberle and Hall with strong back pressure. The two fly high in terms of speed and skill. When they attack North quickly, the east/west game opens up. Backchecking is critical to cramp their style.
- Minimize Smyth’s presence around the net. He is one of the best in the league in front of and behind the cage. Box him out at all costs.
- Force the Oilers defenseman to make plays to beat the forecheck. With so many injuries on their backend the visitors ability to manage and cope with the Blues pressure level will be minimal.
- Keep minor penalties to a minimum. Even though the Blues penalty killing is improving, the lethal Oilers power play needs to have it’s ice time cut out.
- Continued emphasis on offensive zone rebound control. Get to loose pucks and throw them back at the net and good things will happen.