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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Blues

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton came into tonight's contest looking to continue the winning ways that were established in the final three games of the previous six-game homestand. The new batch of home battles began with a whimper, as the Oilers -- despite out-shooting the visiting St. Louis Blues by a 39-22 margin -- fell in a 5-0 shutout Friday night.

Newly acquired Chris Stewart notched a pair of goals in the game, giving him a total of six since entering the fold as a St. Louis Blue.

Looking to earn his third consecutive victory between the pipes, Devan Dubnyk only had an answer for 17 of the Blues' 22 shots. At the other end, rookie netminder Ben Bishop recorded his first career NHL shutout, stopping all 39 Oilers attempts on the night.

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

Although St. Louis had established a 2-0 lead in the first period despite being out-shot by 13-9 margin, the Oilers continued to pepper Ben Bishop while the game was still within reach. The Blues, however, iced the game with their third goal of the evening early in the second period. Chris Stewart's unassisted marker at 4:19, on the power-play, silenced the Oilers' sticks on the night. The shots continued to come, but the uphill climb was far too great. The Blues would later score an additional two goals in their cruise to victory.

63 The Oilers were victorious on 63% of the faceoffs tonight. Sam Gagner posted the best result, with an incredible 14-2, 88% outing in the Oilers' season-high success rate.
15 Although the Oilers were able to record 39 shots on goal in the contest, puck management was an issue that sparked the St. Louis' offensive attack. In total, the Oilers committed 15 giveaways tonight.
20 The Oilers skated with conviction tonight when it came to physical play. The Oilers were able to record 20 hits on the evening, with bruising winger J-F Jacques leading the charge with four of his own.
22 The Oilers peppered Blues goaltender Ben Bishop with 39 shots, but amazingly, another 22 were blocked en route by the visitors.

Ben Bishop
39 39 0 59:54 100

Chris Stewart
G A P +/- Shots
2 0 2 +1 3

Barret Jackman
G A P +/- Shots
0 1 1 +2 1

Ben Bishop
39 39 0 59:54 100

Devan Dubnyk
22 17 5 60:00 .772

Carlo Colaiacovo - D

21:54 - 1A, E rating

Tom Gilbert - D

23:41 - 0P, E rating

In a game that saw home side struggle to produce goals at one end, a big save by Devan Dubnyk at the other provided his club with the opportunity to embark on the comeback path. Late in the second period, with the Blues on a power-play due to a Jordan Eberle high-sticking penalty, a streaking Brad Boyes received a pass in the slot area where he tipped the puck on goal. A sliding Dubnyk came across in a hurry, robbing the St. Louis forward with his flush-to-the-ice left pad. Although the Oilers were unable to come back, the save gave his team a chance with his late-period heroics.

The Blues' newly acquired assets continue to produce, and tonight was another opportunity for Chris Stewart to shine. Since being traded to St. Louis, Stewart has produced six goals in five games, including a pair tonight to lead his Blues to an impressive 5-0 victory. Strong goaltending by Ben Bishop provided the defensive edge, but the offensive charge was led by this incredibly talented forward. For Stewart, his early impression with the Blues organization couldn't possibly be more positive.

With Taylor Chorney being placed on the IR today, the opportunity opens for another player to step in and make the most of his chance. For veteran Jason Strudwick, he's doing his best to earn more games down the stretch. The seventh rearguard concluded his evening having played 10:18, with a blocked shot and takeaway given to his credit. In addition, a decisive fight in the waning moments of the game sparked the building and displayed tremendous veteran leadership to the young Oilers.

J-F Jacques has been making the most of his recent opportunities in the lineup. His physical presence was again on display tonight, with a tremendous crunch on Blues defenceman Tyson Strachan. After dishing the puck behind his own net, Strachan turned and was met with the incoming velocity of the Oilers' lumbering winger. Jacques made solid contact, sending the rearguard violently into the glass, much to the pleasure of the sold-out Rexall Place crowd midway through the third.

With an assist on Matt D'Agostini's third period goal, Cam Janssen recorded his first NHL point in over two years. His last point came on Jan. 15th, 2009 when he scored against the Colorado Avalanche.

"There needed to be more passion and emotion and contact and we needed to drag ourselves into the game, and we had a little bit of a hard time doing that. It was a puzzling game. They scored on their opportunities -- and we let them walk in and do that -- and we couldn't capitalize on ours.

-  Head Coach Tom Renney on the loss to St. Louis

Sunday, February 27 vs. Boston
  6:00pm MST (SN-EDM / 630 CHED)

Tyler Seguin and the Boston Bruins roll into Edmonton as the Oilers and Bruins meet for the only time this season. Game-time is 6:00pm MST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet OIlers.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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