Smyth leads Oilers to fifth straight win
Sunday, 10.30.2011 / 11:14 PM
Last season, the Edmonton Oilers
recorded their seventh win of the season on Nov. 29.
What a difference a year makes.
had a pair of goals as the Oilers won their fifth game in a row, a 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues
at Rexall Place on Sunday night.
and Jordan Eberle
also scored for the Oilers (7-2-2), who improved to 6-1-1 at home and moved back into first place in the Western Conference with the win.
"It's a lot of fun playing for this team right now," said Smyth, who has 5 goals and 5 assists in 11 games. "The excitement, the energy from day to day, the creativity that the young kids bring, it's all awesome. We just want to keep going. We have some momentum and we have to make sure we keep it going in the right direction."
and Chris Stewart
responded for the Blues (5-6-0), who have followed up a three-game winning streak with back-to-back losses.
"This is a game we really wanted to get before we have a long break," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk
said. "They came out hard and played a great game and we couldn't capitalize on our chances. The feeling in the locker-room is that this game is on us, not on our goalie. We hung him out to dry tonight."
The Oilers struck first five and a half minutes into the match as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
made a perfect pass to a streaking Horcoff, who shoveled a power-play goal past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak
Edmonton had a good chance to add to its lead with seven minutes remaining as Taylor Hall
= got a shorthanded breakaway, but Halak closed the five-hole in time to deny him.
Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin
made a pair of saves with Stewart on the doorstep in the dying seconds of the first to keep it a 1-0 game.
St. Louis tied the game four minutes into the second period on a nice play by Backes as he used Jeff Petry
as a screen and fired a bullet under the bar to beat Khabibulin.
Edmonton regained its lead three minutes later as Smyth snapped up a deflected Alex Plante
point shot and stuffed the puck under the pads of a sprawling Halak.
The Oilers went down a player midway through the second period as Eric Belanger
was taken to the dressing room after being slammed headfirst into the boards by Vladimir Sobotka
. He would return for the third period.
Edmonton went up 3-1 with seven minutes left on a fluke goal as a Hall pass hit Eberle's skate and caromed through Halak's legs. The goal was reviewed but no kicking motion was made by Eberle.
The Oilers made it a three-goal game with three minutes to play in the second as Smyth tucked home the rebound of a Tom Gilbert
power play shot for his second of the game and fifth of the season.
"He's such a good leader. He's just an Oiler," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said of Smyth. "I'm very proud of the fact that it means so much for him to be here. He really tries to lead by example and say the right thing and play the right way.
"He's a heart and soul guy. You need your young guys to see what that looks like and feels like and what it means to a person if we are going to win a Stanley Cup here."
Edmonton continued to put the Blues on their heels with 16 second period shots and almost added another goal on a two-on-one by Eberle and Hall, but Halak made a stellar kick save on Hall's shot.
"They're battling hard," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman
said of the Oilers. "They're not relying on one line. They're really rolling over three solid lines and playing well. Their goaltending has been spectacular."
The Blues got back into the game with a power play goal three minutes into the third as a pair of St. Louis players crashed the net and Stewart batted the puck past Khabibulin.
The Oilers are off until Thursday when they will begin a six-game road trip in Los Angeles. The Blues return home and wait until Friday before hosting Vancouver.
"I don't know how many people outside of this room expected this to happen," Oilers forward Ryan Jones
said of his team's tremendous start. "But we looked around and saw the character and the leadership and the skill that we had and knew this was all possible."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.