ST. LOUIS, MO - The Oilers face the St. Louis Blues the morning after their trade of defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington last night. That means the Blues are without a top offensive weapon from the backend. Shattenkirk had 42 points, including 11 goals, this season.
"He's a good defenceman, but I don't think we change anything," said Oilers winger Zack Kassian. "Obviously, he's a dangerous guy that was an offensive guy on the blueline for them, but they're still a good hockey team over there and we're going to need our best effort to beat them."
The Oilers beat the Blues 3-1 on October 20, and also won 3-2 in overtime in St. Louis on December 19.
"We haven't turned many pucks over when we've played them this year," said Kassian. "We get behind them and use our big bodies, cycle pucks and get pucks to the net. We've been fortunate enough that a lot of pucks have been going in against the Blues. That's going to be a tough task tonight. They've been playing well. We're looking forward to it."
Edmonton has won three straight in St. Louis since dropping the previous eight.
"I think this team, compared to previous years, we are bigger and stronger," said Oilers winger Jordan Eberle. "In the past, these guys kind of pushed us around and it's been kind of the opposite this year."
END ON HIGH NOTE
If the Blues are singing the blues by the end of the night, it would mean a successful end to the longest trip of the season for Edmonton. The Oil have a chance to put their trip win total at three.
"There are no excuses. We're rested. We had a day off yesterday and we've gotten plenty of days off," said Kassian. "We've been away from home for a while now, but every team goes through that. We've had some ups and downs but we want to finish this trip on a high note."
Eberle says teams tend to give a strong effort in the final game of a trip.
"Tonight I think we'll have that," he said. "We had the day off yesterday to rest and we'll definitely be mentally and physically ready to go here."
The Oilers will mix things up tonight in St. Louis, as rookies Drake Caggiula and Matt Benning will be scratched.
"We've got to get some other bodies going and we haven't won enough games yet," Head Coach Todd McLellan explained. "Drake hasn't produced at the level we need him to produce. He has had many opportunities, but he hasn't finished. It's been a long time since he's had an opportunity to watch the game from up top and maybe that will help him a little bit with understanding the space and time he may or may not have on the ice surface, and Matt Benning had a bit of a tough night the other day in Nashville and we'd like to add a strong penalty killer into the mix with Grybs. Simple as that."
Eric Gryba and Anton Slepyshev will take those spots.
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (33-22-8) at BLUES (31-25-5)
TV: 6:00 p.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet West
Tuesday marks the third and final meeting between the Oilers and Blues this season and the second of two games in St. Louis.
The last time these teams met was on December 19th in St. Louis, when the Oilers defeated the Blues by a score of 3-2 in overtime. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the overtime winning goal, assisted by McDavid and Sekera.
Oilers team scope:
The Oilers have won twice in five games on this road trip and could finish the trip .500 with a victory tonight against the Blues. The Oilers have won their prior two meetings this season against St. Louis and three straight overall.
Edmonton is tied for second in the Pacific Division with Anaheim at 74 points. Both teams are five points behind San Jose for top spot.
Connor McDavid posted a multi-point effort (1G, 1A) last game and now holds a four-point lead on Sidney Crosby (PIT) and six-point lead on Brent Burns (SJ) for the league lead in scoring with 71 points (21G, 50A) in 63 games. McDavid has led the league in scoring at some point in all four months of the 2016-17 season. He has led or co-led the NHL in scoring since Nov. 22, 2016.
Leon Draisaitl leads the Oilers in goals (23), power play points (20), power play goals (10) and he is tied for fourth in the NHL in power play goals. He also ranks third on Edmonton in game winning goals (3).
The Cologne, Germany native has posted career highs in points (54), goals (23), game winning goals (3), power play goals (10) and power play points (20). He is one assist away from tying his career high in assists (32).
Maroon is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and he scored his first career goal inside Scottrade Center the last time these teams met on Dec. 19. Maroon is one of just three players (Chris Wideman-OTT, Scott Mayfield-NYI) from St. Louis to play games with an NHL club this season.
He ranks third all-time in NHL points among St. Louis born players, accumulating 124 points (54G, 70A) and 358 penalty minutes in 283 career NHL games. Pat Lafontaine ranks first (1013 PTS) and Paul Ranheim sits second (360 PTS).
Maroon has registered one assist last game and ranks fifth on the Oilers in points and third in goals; his 20 goals on the season is a career high. His previous career best was 12 goals in a season (2015-16 with Anaheim and Edmonton).
Since joining the Oilers, Maroon has 45 points (28G, 17A) in 78 games.
Blues team scope:
St. Louis has dropped each of their last three games, this coming after winning six in a row.
The Blues have 67 points and sit in the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.
Paul Stastny has 10 goals and 37 points in 51 games in his NHL career against the Oilers. He has 15 goals and 35 points in 56 games this season.
Vladimir Tarasenko has 28 goals and 56 points in 61 games this year. He ranks 12th in the NHL in scoring and seventh in goals. In 13 career games against the Oilers, he has seven goals and 12 points.
Former Oiler David Perron has 33 points in 61 games. In 26 career games against the Oilers, he has five goals and 12 points.