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ST LOUIS, MO – Robby Fabbri scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut for St. Louis as the Blues spoil the Oilers season opener with a 3-1 win at the Scottrade Center.
The Oilers finished the first period up 1-0, and they can thank Cam Talbot and Alex Pietrangelo for that.
Talbot made a huge save on Vladimir Tarasenko just 31 seconds into the opening frame, from point-blank range. The Oilers goalie stopped all eight shots faced in the first.
“I felt pretty sharp right off the bat,” said Talbot. “Obviously, that first save on Tarasenko there right in the slot kind of gives you a little bit of confidence to start the game, to start the season. I felt pretty strong, pretty confident. I thought I was controlling my rebounds for the most part and I thought I did a pretty good job of giving us a chance to win tonight.”
Talbot finished the game with 28 saves.
The Oilers goal came with 2:58 left in the period. The Blues won the power play draw in their defensive zone, but Pietrangelo’s clearing attempt deflected off his teammate Alexander Steen and went in past Brian Elliott.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got credit for the goal because he took the draw.
It took Edmonton over seven minutes to register their first shot on goal, but before the end of the first period they were leading in that category.
The Oilers took some positives from the game, but were not satisfied with the result.
“We still lost the game. That’s pretty much all that matters,” said Taylor Hall. “There’s a lot of things we can take from that game but unfortunately a couple errors ended up in the back of our net and we lose that game.”
“We still lost the game. That’s pretty much all that matters.There’s a lot of things we can take from that game but unfortunately a couple errors ended up in the back of our net and we lose that game.”
Things got heated in the second period when Blues forward Steve Ott hit Oilers centre Mark Letestu into the boards from behind. Eric Gryba came to Letestu’s defence and, while Ott was preoccupied in a scrum of bodies, fought Joel Edmundson.
Tarasenko finished on his next one-on-one chance with Talbot, after being stopped in the first. At 9:10 of the second, the Blues forward potted the equalizer on a breakaway. Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester recorded the assists.
“As a team, we’re going to make mistakes,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I thought we were in the game the whole night. We weren’t perfect, but we gave ourselves a chance to be in it and a chance to have success.”
Talbot saw a lot of work in the second, making 13 saves in total during the period.
Fabbri scored his first NHL goal at 9:29 of the third to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Jori Lehtera set the rookie up with a beautiful backhand feed. Fabbri was taken 21st overall in 2014 and was making his NHL debut tonight for the Blues.
“We did some good stuff.” said Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, also making his NHL debut. “There’s obviously some stuff to improve on. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to but for the most part we were right there.”
With Talbot pulled for the extra attacker late, Troy Bouwer scored an empty-net goal from half-ice to make it 3-1.