The St. Louis Blues whitewashed the Edmonton Oilers 6-0 Saturday night at Rexall Place, Chris Stewart providing most of the offense as Brian Elliott made 23 saves for his 2nd shutout of the season. It was the first meeting of the two teams since the trade sending David Perron to Edmonton and bringing Magnus Paajarvi to St. Louis. Paajarvi earned an assist and Perron caught an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty as the Blues blew the game open in the 3rd period. The Blues have now won three straight in Edmonton.
Elliott’s shutout is really the least interesting thing to come out of Saturday night’s game. He made some good saves and had to be tough as the Blues killed all four Oiler power-plays. St. Louis finally scored a power-play goal of their own late in the game, giving Stewart his first hat-trick as a Blue and the 3rd of his career. Stewie scored in the 1st period and twice in the 3rd, adding an assist on Brenden Morrow’s 6th of the season in the 2nd period to give Stewart eight goals and three assists in his last 9-games against the Oilers.
Stewie’s 1st of the night developed after David Backes, finally back after missing the last two games with injury, nearly chased down a loose puck forcing Edmonton goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to play it, coming too far out of his crease and making a bad clearing attempt. Jaden Schwartz would pick off the caroming puck and find a wide-open Stewart racing in on the far side for the easy score.
Morrow would tally the only goal of the 2nd period, proving he still has the hands to work close to the net. He started a nice tic-tac-toe passing play dropping the puck to Derek Roy, who sent it to Stewart, who fired back to Morrow in front of Bryzgalov who went five-hole for a 2-0 Blues lead.
St. Louis really opened things up in the final frame, Stewart scoring just 1:46 into the 3rd period and Schwartz cranking in a wicked wrist-shot (his 10th of the season) less than a minute later putting the Blues up 4-0. Roy would add his 2nd assist of the night on Stewart’s Hat-Trick goal on a Blues power-play at 7:27. The line of Stewart, Roy, and Morrow combined for seven points on the night.
Roy, at 5’9″ & 184lbs one of the smaller St. Louis forwards, brought physicality to his game Saturday night as well, earning a double-minor for Roughing against Corey Potter while standing up for his linemates. Potter, in his first game back after a 2-game suspension, stands 6’3″ & 205lbs, and Roy’s willingness to throw down the gloves with a much bigger opponent will go a long way to cement his reputation as a team-leader in the St. Louis locker room.
Patrik Berglund would score his 3rd of the season to put icing on the cake at 12:42, giving him 2-points on the night and notching Paajarvi his first assist since the trade. St. Louis finished the game with 8 skaters +2 or better including Schwartz who leads all Blues forwards at +16. The Blues now have five guys with 10 or more goals. Roy has 7-points in his last 5-games while Schwartzy has piled up 3-goals and 6-points his last four.
The outburst of scoring from so many different skaters bodes well for St. Louis, especially in light of the one dark cloud that hovered over the team as they head into Calgary tonight to face the Flames before breaking for Christmas. Alexander Steen left Saturday night’s game in the 2nd period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Steen, the Blues leading scorer and 2nd in the NHL with 24 goals this season will definitely not play tonight in Calgary and will be reevaluated after Christmas before the Blues host the Blackhawks on Saturday.
To help fill the bench in Steen’s absence, St. Louis has recalled winger Dmitrij Jaskin from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. The 6-foot-3, 204lb Russian gives the Blues some size and grit, as the team is still missing Vladimir Sobotka, Ryan Reaves, and Roman Polak. Jaskin has 9-goals and 17-points in 20 games this season in Chicago.
Jay Bouwmeester is riding a 3-game point streak against his former team, and will be playing in his 800th game tonight in Calgary. Stewart is red-hot with 8-goals and 10-points in his last 6-games, and the Blues will look for him on a line with Roy and Morrow to keep up the pace with Steen out of the lineup. Schwartz will likely skate again on the top line with Backes and TJ Oshie and St. Louis will look to maintain its disciplined approach which has allowed them to out-score opponents 11-1 in their last two match-ups. Jaroslav Halak should in between the pipes for the Blues tonight.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!