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Blues top Oilers 5-3 in matinee

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Jussi Markkanen got the start in goal for the Oilers for the first time since a late-October start in Phoenix.

Shawn Horcoff had the best scoring chance early, redirecting a Ryan Smyth pass in the slot off the left post.

Raffi Torres also came close to scoring off a faceoff, firing a bullet from the top of the left circle. He beat Curtis Sanford five hole but it trickled through his legs and off the post.

Late in the period, St. Louis struck for the game's first goal. The draw was won back to Bryce Salvador, who blasted the puck on net. It was tipped in front by an Edmonton defender and went past Markkanen.

Several minutes later, Brad Winchester scored his second of the season to tie the game up. Patrick Thoresen found Winchester barrelling toward the net and he then backhanded it over the line.

Shots on goal after one were 10-9 for St. Louis.

St. Louis moved back in front early in the second after Martin Rucinsky wristed a shot from the left circle that slipped through the five-hole of Markkanen.

The Oilers had a great chance to tie the game after penalties to Peter Cajanek and Bryce Salvador almost two minutes apart effectively gave them a four-minute power play but the Blues were able to kill off the penalty.

On another Oilers power play later in the period, MacTavish opted to put out the fourth line of Winchester, Thoresen and Reasoner. The trio had some good chances, including a close-in backhander by Winchester that Sanford had to be sharp on.

On the same power play, Horcoff tried to sweep the puck past Sanford in the slot but it was tipped away at the last second by Jackman.

In the final minute of the second, the Blues scored their third of the game. During a scramble in front of the net, Jay McClement wristed the puck past Markkanen to make it 3-1.

Just when it looked like the Oilers were going to go into the intermission down by a pair, Brad Winchester scored with seconds left in the period to close the deficit to a goal. Winchester skated across the line and wristed it top corner.

After two periods, shots on goal were 21-20 Blues.

Ryan Smyth and Fernando Pisani skated in on a two-on-one early in the third period. Smyth found Pisani with a pass but Sanford was able to come across and make the save.

St. Louis regained their two-goal lead several minutes later when Lee Stempniak backhanded a shot from the left circle that beat Markkanen short side.

Brad Winchester was rewarded for his stellar play in this game by being slotted with Hemsky and Sykora in the latter half of the third period.

Late in the period, the Oilers scored a power play goal to close the gap to 4-3. Daniel Tjarnqvist teed up a shot from the point and Pisani knocked it down with his stick for his third of the season.

Rucinsky added an empty netter for his second of the game.
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