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RECAP: Blues 2, Oilers 1

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB –  The St. Louis Blues withstood a late surge and earned a hard fought 2-1 victory against the Oilers at Rexall Place.

“I liked the way our guys played tonight,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “I thought both teams played a strong game and we gave ourselves a chance to win, or get some points.”

Edmonton went down a man just 2:12 into the game. Oilers forward Iiro Pakarinen tried to check David Backes into the glass behind the Blues net, but missed and fell to the ice. The result was a leg injury that sent him to the locker room for the remainder of the night.

Nelson had no update on Pakarinen other than the Oilers, “don’t expect him (back) anytime soon.”

Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens turned away a 2-on-1 chance by the Blues nine minutes into the first period.

At 12:11 of the first, St. Louis took a 1-0 lead. Dmitij Jaskin buried a one-timer from Paul Stastny for his 10th goal of the season. Patrik Berglund got in on the scoring with the second assist.

The Oilers got the equalizer from defenceman Justin Schultz at 6:31 of the second period. Jordan Eberle set up the blueliner for his fifth goal of the season. That assist was Eberle’s 11th in his last 10 games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded the second assist.

It took until 5:14 of the third period for the first penalty of the game to be awarded. Martin Marincin was called for holding to give the high-powered Blues power play an opportunity. Scrivens made a huge save on Jori Lehtera, from close range, on the man advantage. The Oilers killed that penalty off, but Derek Roy got a hooking call at 8:08 to give the Blues another crack at it. Scrivens gloved a Stastny chance on that power play to keep the game tied.

Stastny got another chance a few minutes later and capitalized, scoring from the slot at 14:20 of the final frame. Ian Cole got the lone assist as St. Louis took a 2-1 lead.

“We took a couple of penalties there and it set us back a little bit,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I think after that, we kept pushing and pushing. Then they got that late one and we came close on a few opportunities there but couldn’t find that one.”

The Oilers had a late push in tight on the St. Louis net. Benoit Pouliot fired a point-blank shot on Brian Elliott with Nail Yakupov at the post. The Blues goaltender swallowed it up with just over a minute remaining.

The tension mounted as Stastny got whistled for closing his hand on the puck with 54 seconds remaining. The Oilers got the power play and emptied their net for the extra attacker. They had their chances, but Elliott closed the door to prevent the comeback.

“It was pretty good I thought,” Schultz said of the Oilers efforts. “We played pretty good for the whole game, came out a little slow in the third there but for the most part it was a decent game for us. We just didn’t find a way to win.”

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