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Blues double up Oilers 4-2

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Yan Stastny made an impression on his first NHL shift, generating a scoring opportunity and his first career NHL shot from in front of Blues netminder Curtis Sanford.

An outstanding individual effort by Keith Tkachuk resulted in the game's first goal. The big Blues winger carried the puck through the neutral zone before breaking in on the right side. He then cut in front of the Oilers net before wristing it past Markkanen.

Several minutes later, the Oilers looked to get the equalizer as Ryan Smyth broke in with Hemsky and Horcoff. Smyth attempted a backhand in-close that Sanford got a piece of with his glovehand.

On that same shift, Ales Hemsky was sent to the box for a slashing infraction. 15 seconds into that man advantage, Scott Young fired a shot from the point that found its way into the back of the net through a screen, putting St. Louis up 2-0 despite the Oilers enjoying an early 7-4 shot advantage.

Sparks began to fly late in the opening period when Steve Staios and Barret Jackman dropped the gloves and engaged in somewhat of a wrestling match. Both players received two minutes for their efforts.

During the four-on-four situation, the Oilers almost scored their first of the night when a Hemsky wrister from the right circle got through Sanford but came out the other side.

The Oilers had another chance with less than two minutes to go in the period after Matt Walker took a holding penalty. Ales Hemsky ripped a one-timer and Sanford was solid in coming over to make the save.

After one period of play, shots on goal were 13-4 for Edmonton but St. Louis had a two-goal lead.

Just as the Walker penalty expired early in the second, Smyth had a chance from the side of the net but his wrister was pegged off by Sanford's glove.

After the power play, neither team was able to generate many scoring chances for a good portion of the period.

The Oilers' best chance in the middle frame came shorthanded with Fernando Pisani serving a four-minute high sticking penalty. Stoll was able to create a turnover at his own blueline and break in alone on Sanford. His attempted wrist shot just missed the net high to the glove side.

Late in the Pisani penalty, St. Louis scored its second power play goal of the evening and third of the night overall. Young teed up a shot from the point chest height that Markkanen stopped but Jay McClement was standing right in front to put home the rebound.

Edmonton had an opportunity to get back in the game less than a minute later with a two-man advantage.

On the ensuing five-on-three, Chris Pronger blasted a shot from the left point that beat a screened Sanford low to bring the home side back within a pair of goals.

After two periods, shots on goal were 26-10 for the Oilers but they trailed St. Louis 3-1.

The Oilers started the third period on the power play with Jackman still in the box for high sticking. Looking to create a spark for his club, Craig MacTavish started Mike Morrison for the period.

The Oilers were unable to score on the man advantage but the newly-created line of Dvorak, Torres and Stastny created some offence down low on the following shift.

The hard work by that line paid off as just after a line change was made, the Oilers scored to draw within a goal. Marc-Andre Bergeron blasted a shot from the left point that found its way into the back of the net, beating Sanford five-hole. Georges Laraque and Marty Reasoner drew assists on the play.

As time was winding down in the final frame, the Oilers put more and more pressure on Sanford. They generated a lot of chances through cycling down low but couldn't get one past the red-hot Blues netminder.

Through the first 18 minutes of the period, the Blues only managed a single shot on Morrison but Scott Young picked up a loose puck and slapped it top corner past the Oilers netminder to double the Blues lead. The goal was only the Blues' second shot of the period.

4-2 was the final score, despite the Oilers outshooting St. Louis 4-2.

NOTES: Michael Peca (hip) and Matt Greene (shoulder) were both scratches due to injury... Petr Cajanek, Steve Poapst and Christian Backman were all scratches for St. Louis... With Mike Morrison coming in to play the third, the Oilers have now switched goaltenders on 12 different occasions this season.
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