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Under the Scope: Oilers at Blues

by Karmela Arocena / Edmonton Oilers

Going into St. Louis riding a seven-game losing streak, the Oilers were hoping to change their luck by recording a win against the St. Louis Blues who currently rank 13th in the Western Conference. The team was able to get a boost tonight as both Colin Fraser and J-F Jacques returned to the lineup.

The game started off chippy as both Jim Vandermeer and Theo Peckham fought within the first 3:09 of play.  J-F Jacques continue the trend as he dropped the gloves with B.J. Crombeen at 17:43 of the first.  The fight-filled first period ended with the teams tied 0-0.

At the start of the second, play settled down as the game took a normal pace.  Each time failed to score on their powerplay chances, but with 1:32 left in the middle frame, TJ Oshie scored the game's first goal to put the Blues up by one.  This caused a huge momentum shift for the Blues as they scored three more goals in the third, eventually shutting out the Oilers and winning 4-0.

Nikolai Khabibulin was back between the pipes tonight, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

The Oilers and Blues went almost two, full periods without scoring a goal. But a late second period goal by TJ Oshie totally tipped the ice in favour of the Blues.  After Oshie scored with 1:32 left in the middle frame, the Blues continued to play with increased pressure entering the final 20 minutes.  St. Louis managed to net another three goals in the third, cruising to a 4-0 victory.

47 Edmonton managed a 47% efficiency rate in the faceoff circle tonight. Rookie Chris VandeVelde had an amazing 86% success rate, winning six draws and losing one on the night.
3 The first period saw three fights break out: Jim Vandermeer and Cam Janssen (at 3:08), Theo Peckham and Ryan Reaves (at 3:09), and J-F Jacques and BJ Crombeen (at 17:43).
0 In the Oilers' four games this season against the Blues, the Oilers have scored 0 goals on 10 powerplay chances.
24 St. Louis dictated tonight's game by blocking shots.  They recorded 24 blocked shots, Ian Cole registering the most with 6.

TJ Oshie
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 5

Ian Cole
G A P +/- Shots
0 0 0 +1 2

Matt D'Agostini
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 5

Jaroslav Halak
12 12 0 60:00 1.00

Nikolai Khabibulin
30 26 4 59:58 .867

Alex Pietrangelo - D

25:37 - 0P, +1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

26:19 - 0P, E rating

A poor giveaway at the Oilers' own blueline resulted in a great play that led to the Blues fourth goal.  Kevin Shattenkirk was able to intercept a pass from Petry, and turn the play in the other direction.  He then made a tape-to-tape, cross-ice pass to Adam Cracknell who then wired a one-timer past Khabibulin. 

If it weren't for TJ Oshie breaking the goose egg late in the second, the game could have been singing a different tune.  Oshie scored a game changing goal at 18:28 of the second to give his team some much needed momentum.  After the Blues started to turn it on, he was able to add an assist on the Christ Stewart's goal.  In his 21:13 of ice-time, Oshie had two points, was a +2, and earned the game's first star.

As usual, Ryan Jones continues to be an impact player, even in a losing cause.  With his 17:55 of ice-time, Jones recorded the most hits for the Oilers tonight with four, and recorded 25% of the teams shots with three.  He also played in every situation, collecting significant time both even-strength, on the powerplay, and shorthanded.

It didn't take long for things to heat up in tonight's game.  At 3:08 of the first period, Vandermeer and Cam Janssen dropped the gloves and partook in a lengthy fight that lasted 1:40 where each player made some impressive connections.  However, the refs ended the fight when Vandermeer was able to remove Janssen's helmet.  The excitement wasn't over though as another fight broke out immediately after the ensuing puck drop when Peckham and Ryan Reaves went at it.

The Oilers went a shocking 28:14 without a shot on goal tonight.  Andrew Cogliano registered the Oilers' last shot of the second period at 10:18; their next shot didn't come until Jordan Eberle registered one at 18:52 of the third period.

"We came out kind of dead in the third and weren't getting opportunities and weren't getting pucks in the net. We gotta score goals."

- Jordan Eberle on his team's disappointing 4-0 loss to the Blues

Saturday, March 26 vs. Calgary
  8:00pm MDT (CBC / 630 CHED)

The second-to-last Battle of Alberta takes place on Saturday night in Edmonton.  All the action can be seen on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada at 8:00pm MDT.

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