EDMONTON - Doug Weight's first goal of the season came much later than he would have liked - but it was a timely one for the St. Louis Blues.
Weight's third-period goal led the Blues to a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, giving St. Louis its ninth victory in the last 12 games. Weight has struggled this season, held to just six assists in his previous 25 games before finally scoring on Edmonton netminder Mathieu Garon.
The goal wasn't pretty - Weight banked it in off the skate of Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert - but that's not how he plans to remember it.
"My son was sleeping so he's going to hear it was end-to-end," he quipped.
The former Oilers captain said it felt great to finally score.
"The puck went in and it was a great relief," he said. "And it was great to contribute to the win and not have to hear from everybody else trying to pump me up. Now hopefully I can get on a roll. I felt a lot lighter and better with the puck instantly. I felt like a different player."
Blues head coach Andy Murray says it was nice to see the weight lifted from the veteran's shoulders.
"It was really special for Doug," he said. "He must have felt like a rookie getting his first goal. To be able to do it here in Edmonton and it was such a big goal at the time it came."
Brad Boyes led the way for St. Louis with a pair of goals and Paul Kariya scored the winner for the red-hot Blues (16-9-1).
"We've been winning and we're doing well in the standings," Boyes said. "We have to keep going, keep rolling. You want to contribute and it's so tight, up two points one night, lose a couple spots in the standings the next night. I'm just trying to help out as much as I can."
Shawn Horcoff, Robert Nilsson and Marty Reasoner countered for Edmonton.
The Oilers, who sat out forwards Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres as a result of Edmonton's third-period collapse in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to 4-2 to Pittsburgh, dropped their second straight to fall to 13-16-1.
"We gave up some untimely goals and it cost us again," said Oilers forward Dustin Penner. "It's a lack of focus, especially when you enter the third period tied with a team that is as good as St. Louis. You have to kick it up a notch. And we didn't. It seems like right now it is two steps forwards and one step back. We have to start moving forward again."
Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish says he felt it was time to shake things up in the room a bit by sending a message to Stoll and Torres.
"I analyzed it from a thousand different perspectives and at the end of the day, based on how they were playing, that we wouldn't be that far behind in terms of giving up the game tonight or something," he said. "At the same time we hope that it has a residual effect on them. That they get a look at things from a different perspective and realize what a privilege it is to be in that lineup.
"They are both certainly salvageable and in a lot of ways they will be major cogs in whatever success we have done the road."
St. Louis starting the scoring midway through the first period as Boyes corralled a bouncing puck in front of the Oilers net and he danced around a defender before sending a wrist shot past Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon.
Edmonton tied the game with just 1:19 remaining in the opening period as Ales Hemsky made a terrific backhand feed to Horcoff and he blasted a one-timer past Blues goaltender Hannu Toivonen to extend his points scoring streak to six games.
There was no scoring in a lifeless second period although St. Louis had the better chances and outshot Edmonton 12-5.
The Blues took a 3-1 lead on a pair of early third-period goals, scored just 54 seconds apart.
Boyes got his second of the game just over three minutes in as Erik Johnson faked a shot and found him open at the face-off circle for his 17th of the season. Weight added to the lead shortly after.
The Oilers fought back to within one with just under eight minutes to go as Sam Ganger spotted Nilsson open at the side of the net and he had an easy tap-in to make it 3-2.
Two minutes later the Blues restored the two-goal cushion as a trio of Oiler defenders were unable to clear a puck in front of their net and it popped loose to Kariya. He fired a backhand shot past Garon, who slammed his stick on the ice in frustration following the goal.
Edmonton made the final minute interesting as Reasoner scored with just 39 seconds to go and with an extra attacker on the ice.
"We got ourselves in a little trouble there but in the end we battled hard and deserved the win," Toivonen said. "Good teams find a way to win and we did today."
The Blues close out a three-game road swing on Sunday in Colorado while Edmonton embarks on a three-game trip starting Monday in Dallas.
Notes: Recent call-ups Patrick Thoresen and Liam Reddox took over for Stoll and Torres in the Edmonton lineup. It was Reddox's first NHL game. Edmonton defenceman Dick Tarnstrom took the morning skate but did not dress. He'll likely be ready for the team's three-game road trip. Fellow blue-liner Sheldon Souray, out with a shoulder injury since Oct. 13, is back on skates and could return to the lineup as early as next week. Toivonen got the call in the St. Louis net with usual starter Manny Legace still nursing a knee injury suffered in the pre-game warm-up in Calgary on Tuesday. The Blues recalled Marek Schwarz from the minors to back up Toivonen.