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Oilers hope for partial repeat of past game vs. Blues

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers took it on the chin last time they hosted the St. Louis Blues.

Despite being shut out 6-0 on Dec. 21, there were positives in the loss to take into the return engagement Tuesday at Rexall Place.

The Oilers outshot the Blues 14-5 in the first period of that game before the wheels fell off in the second and third periods.

"We need to stick with that game plan that we had in that first period right through the game," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We've run into that a few times this season where we had the game plan going, everything is great and maybe we haven't scored or maybe even the other team is up 1-0.

"We have a tendency to say, 'That's not working,' but it is if we're out-chancing them terribly and we're spending very little time in our zone. We have to just do this for the full 60 minutes, and it may take until the 57th minute to break them but you can't come off it."

The Oilers took the play to the Blues in the first period of their previous encounter yet trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes.

They came out in the second to a more inspired Blues team, which took over the game and dominated the final two periods.

"If you're not ready Edmonton is going to push you hard," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We pushed back in the second and third, but if it wasn't for [goalie Brian] Elliott in that first period we would have been pushing uphill.

"It takes a lot of energy to play against Edmonton early because they come at you with so much transitional speed. Our job is to take the speed out of the game and get them bogged down and that's what we're going to do. We have to get the game slowed down and make them uncomfortable. If we can make them uncomfortable early like we did in the second and third [in their previous game], then that's going to hold big favor for us."

The Oilers go into the game off a 5-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. It was the third time this season the Oilers have beaten a team in a playoff spot.

"We played one of our best periods of the year last time against [St. Louis] and then one of our worst second and thirds the last time," Oilers right wing David Perron said. "We have to have a more even effort this time around. We'd like to come out with the same start, but if we don't we have to stick to it and play through it, kind of like what we did in our last game against Tampa.

"They came back and tied it 3-3, but we dug our heels in and played through the adversity. It's about making the right decisions with the puck. When the play is there we have to make it, but when it's not there we can't force it."

Here are the expected lineups for both teams:


Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow - Derek Roy - Chris Stewart

Magnus Paajarvi - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carlo Colaiacovo - Ian Cole

Brian Elliott

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Jordan Leopold

Injured: Alexander Steen (upper body), Roman Polak (ankle)


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - David Perron

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky

Luke Gazdic - Mark Arcobello - Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz - Brad Hunt

Martin Marincin - Jeff Petry

Ilya Bryzgalov

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Jesse Joensuu, Anton Belov

Injured: Philip Larsen (illness), Corey Potter (groin)

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