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Desperate Blues visit relaxed Oilers

by John Kreiser /
BLUES (27-24-9) at OILERS (20-33-8)

TV -- FS-Midwest (HD); SNET-West (HD)

Last 10 -- St. Louis 4-4-2; Edmonton 5-5-0

Season series -- The Blues and Oilers are meeting for the third time this season. They've split the first two, with the Blues winning 5-3 at St. Louis three weeks ago. St. Louis has won four of the last five meetings.

Big story -- The Blues' playoff push is starting to run out of time. Thursday's 3-2 loss at Vancouver kept St. Louis seven points out of the last playoff berth in the West, and the Blues have dropped three games already this week after winning three in a row.

Team Scope:

Blues -- How desperate are the Blues? Not enough, says center Andy McDonald.

"It didn't seem like we were a team playing for our season," he said after Thursday's loss. "We haven't been able to get that life, get that emotion and get that fire. Obviously that's not going to be acceptable if you want to get in the postseason."

Oilers -- With nothing to play for but pride and experience, the Oilers have been making pests of themselves against teams higher in the standings, winning four of their last five. That includes a 5-1 win at Colorado on Wednesday.

"We've had plenty of those, so we'll take the ones that go our way," captain Shawn Horcoff said of the rare blowout win.

Who's hot -- Blues center Patrik Berglund has 8 points in his last eight games. … Two of the Oilers' prized rookies continue to make progress. Taylor Hall has four goals in his last three games and 21 overall, while Jordan Eberle has three goals in his last five.

Injury report -- The Blues have been without starting goalie Jaroslav Halak (hand), and could be without defenseman Nikita Nikitin, who suffered a lower body injury Thursday. … Edmonton is without defenseman Taylor Chorney (knee); the Oilers' top blueliner, Ryan Whitney is gone for the season with ankle surgery.

Stat pack -- The Blues have scored at least one power play goal in seven straight games, the first time they've done that since 2005.

Puck drop -- Seven points out of a playoff spot might not seem like much with more than six weeks of the season remaining. But the Blues, with four teams between them and eighth place, know that coming close -- as they did in one-goal losses to Colorado and Vancouver this week -- isn't good enough.

"We're playing good hockey, and that's a positive thing we'll take from it," said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who scored against the Canucks. "But the points right now are crucial. Close isn't good enough right now. We've got to make sure we win."

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