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RECAP: Oilers 3, Blues 1

Cam Talbot's 34 saves help the Oilers hand St. Louis their first regulation loss of the season, 3-1

by Chris Wescott @TheChrisWescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Video: OILERS TODAY | Oilers vs. Blues Post-Game

Tyler Pitlick, Milan Lucic and Connor McDavid scored, while Cam Talbot stopped 34 shots, in Edmonton's 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

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The Oilers next game is the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg on Sunday. The game is at 1 p.m. MT and can be seen on Sportsnet and heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network. Edmontonoilers.com and Oilers TV will have full coverage of the weekend, including the alumni game. 

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"I thought we played good. I thought we were prepared," said Oilers winger Patrick Maroon. "Every line was prepared and ready to go tonight. We won the battles on the boards. I thought in the d-zone, we got the pucks out at the right time, we made some really good plays and kept them out of the zone as much as possible tonight."

While the Blues led in shots and chances, Edmonton was not without their own in the first period. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set up Pitlick perfectly with a cross-ice feed through Blues defenders late in the opening frame but Jake Allen was there to make the save.

Former Oiler Nail Yakupov broke the scoring drought at 3:37 of the second period. Joel Edmundson, from behind the Oilers net, centred the puck to the slot where Yakupov was waiting all alone. The winger buried for his second goal of the season.

Yakupov was traded to the Blues on October 7.

The Oilers drew even with the Blues at 6:22 of the second. Pitlick tipped in Andrej Sekera's point shot while diving past and bumping into Allen. The goal was Pitlick's third on the season, a career high already for the forward. The goal was reviewed for goaltender interference, but was upheld.

"I was just going to the net, trying to get in front for a screen and Sekera made a great shot," said Pitlick. "It was behind me and I just reached behind me and tipped it."

Edmonton took their first lead of the night just 36 seconds into the third period. Jordan Eberle fed McDavid with a pass near centre. McDavid skated across the blueline and drew the two Blues defenders with him, freeing up Lucic in front. Lucic scored his second goal of the season to make it 2-1.

"It's obviously a huge win," said Lucic, who had an impressive third period of play while his team tried to shut down the Blues. "We talked about getting off to a good start and having a good first five games to get our team going and gain some confidence going into this Heritage Classic. It's great that we were able to play a good game against a really good team tonight and I think a lot of credit has to go to our goaltending. The way he's been able to bounce back after that Buffalo loss has been huge for us in the last two wins. Him making some big saves and keeping us in it really gave us a chance to win."

Eberle and McDavid almost completed a 2-on-1 rush but McDavid was denied by Allen, then roofed the rebound to no avail. Moments later, Leon Draisaitl drew a tripping penalty as the Oil began to pressure the Blues.

On the ensuing power play, Lucic set up Eberle for a one-timer in front but he couldn't connect. Following a St. Louis shot on net on the other end of the rink, the Oilers came right back down the ice for another scoring chance of their own. The game began to flow a little faster, following the Lucic goal earlier in the period. Allen and Talbot were keeping pucks out of the net at each end.

Talbot was saved by the post midway through the third when Yakupov skated in with speed and backhanded a shot right off the inside of Talbot's glove-side pipe.

McDavid scored the empty-net insurance marker with 38 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

St. Louis Head Coach Ken Hitchcock conceded this Oilers team is not the same team that the Blues, heading into the night, went 13-4-3 against since 2006.

"They're big, they're strong, they have a lot of good players," said Hitchcock. "They're going to be a good team."

The Oilers (4-1-0) are the first team to beat the Blues (3-1-1) in regulation this season.

"This was a good test for us this early in the season, playing St. Louis," said Maroon. "Playing them this early, knowing their track record and knowing what kind of team they are and how they play, they are a really good team over there. I thought tonight, we did well. We competed hard and we stuck in there all night."

Edmonton now travels to Winnipeg to face the Jets on Sunday in the Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field. The Oilers take their season in segments of five games. With the first five in the books, Edmonton has eight of a possible 10 points.

"We'll look at the numbers, talk to the individual players, groups, lines and evaluate the group that way," said Head Coach Todd McLellan. "Then we'll close the book and we'll open a new one up going to Winnipeg. There was a lot made about starting well at home. We put some points in the bank, which we needed. We'll also now have to learn to deal with the good."

At the conclusion of their game, Edmonton was atop the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the Blues.

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