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Oilers lose heartbreaker 2-1

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton got behind the eight ball early after consecutive penalties to Jaroslav Spacek and Jason Smith gave St. Louis a two-man advantage.

Edmonton was able to kill off the early penalties with the best chance coming on a Dean McAmmond backhand in front of Roloson.

Midway through the first, Mike Glumac wristed a shot from the right circle that Roloson had to be sharp in stopping.

Neither team was mounting much of a dangerous attack through the opening ten minutes with shots on goal 4-3 St. Louis. The Oilers had a chance to get some momentum swinging their way afer Dennis Wideman took an intereference penalty 11 minutes in. Blues penalty killers did a good job limiting Edmonton to only one shot from the outside.

Roloson had to come up with a huge pair of stops late in the period, first denying Matt Walker on the initital blast from the left circle followed by a nice stop on Jeff Hoggan as he slid across to keep the game scoreless.

Shots on goal after one were 7-5 for the Blues.

A minute into the second period, Jamal Mayers netted his 13th of the year to put St. Louis ahead 1-0. Mayers blasted a shot from the top of the right circle that beat Roloson clean to the blocker side.

Shortly after St. Louis took the lead, Ethan Moreau almost tied it up. He was breaking toward the Blues net but was hooked by Dennis Wideman and couldn't get a clean shot away. He did draw a penalty on the play, however.

That power play was negated by an Oilers too many men penalty, but on the penalty kill Michael Peca created a turnover before breaking in alone on Bacashihua. The rookie Blues netminder made a big stop to keep his team ahead.

Todd Harvey almost scored the tying goal with less than four minutes to play in the middle frame. Harvey tried to lift a backhand attempt over Bacashihua but his attempt went off the side of the net.

With time ticking down in the period, Ethan Moreau had a great chance in the slot but his shot was kicked out by the Blues netminder.

After two, St. Louis had a one-goal lead and shots were tied at 14-14.

The Blues started the third period much the same way that they opened the second - with an early goal. Lee Stempniak fed Mark Rycroft streaking toward the Oilers goal. Rycroft switched from backhand to forehand before snapping a shot past Roloson to make it a 2-0 game.

Down by two goals, the Oilers started to get desperate with about 12 minutes left in the game but that's when the Jason Bacashihua show started. Making saves off Spacek and Hemsky in succession, the Blues netminder started to steal the show.

After Bacashihua made a nice glove stop off a Pisani wrister from the slot, the Oilers were outshooting St. Louis 14-1 in the third period but the lone goal came off the Blues' stick.

Even when the Oilers did beat Bacashihua, they couldn't dent the twine. Radek Dvorak cut toward the St. Louis net and backhanded one over his shoulder but it rang off the post.

Edmonton pulled Roloson for the extra attacker with over two minutes left in the game to try and spark a rally. The club did get their chances as Todd Harvey and Ryan Smyth both couldn't put the puck in during a goalmouth scramble.

Things got interesting when the Blues took a penalty with 1:36 remaining. Steve Poapst hooked Harvey in the slot to set up a last-gasp Edmonton power play.

On the ensuing man advantage, Chris Pronger scored on a blast from the point to make things interesting but that was as close as they would get.

NOTES: The game was preceded by a 50-minute ceremony as the St. Louis Blues honoured defenceman Al MacInnis by retiring his number... Jason Bacashihua made his second straight start for the Blues after missing most of the season due to injury... With the win, St. Louis ended a 13-game losing streak and improved to 10-8-2 against the Northwest Division.
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