Blues Defeat Oilers On Wings Of Paul Stastny And Company


The St. Louis Blues (40-18-4) defeated the Edmonton Oilers (18-35-10) 2-1 Saturday night in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  This was the third of three regular season meetings between the teams following 4-3 and 4-2 Blues victories in November and January.  Both teams entered the game following 2-1 wins earlier in the week.

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This win was another step in the Blues gaining some much needed points following a disappointing streak of bad luck in the middle of the month.   During this time the Nashville Predators ran away with the lead in the Central Division while the third place Chicago Blackhawks inched closer to the Blues’ second place position.  The Predators lost their last two games while the Hawks lost one.  These losses have allowed the Blues to move on first while pulling away from third.


The game started with a lot of energy.  Early on, at 2:12 Oilers’ Forward Iiro Pakarinen went into the boards and had to leave due to a leg injury.  After five minutes the Oilers had maintained control of most of the play and had the only shot of the game.  After 8:47, Paul Stastny gained a breakaway and took the first Blues shot.

After the first ten minutes, the Blues picked up their momentum.  At 12:11 Dmitrij Jaskin scored off a pass from Paul Stastny to put the Blues up 1-0.  Patrik Berglund earned the second assist.  The Blues continued to put up pressure through the first, though the Oilers made a few strong plays.  The Blues held them off, however, and ended the period with the lone goal.

Feb 28, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues forward Paul Stastny (26) screens Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens (30) during the second period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers came back strong at the start of the second period and overtook the Blues in shots.  After five minutes the Blues evened out the efforts.  However, at 6:31 Justin Schultz scored to tie the game at one.  Play was held up after the ten minute mark while crews worked on a problem with the glass behind the Blues’ net.

When the teams got back in action the Blues put up their strongest effort of the game and racked up a few shots.  They carried this momentum and continued to create a lot of good scoring chances as the period went on.  The period ended ended with the teams tied at one goal each.

The Blues took control at the start of the third period and took a handful of shots in the first five minutes.  After 5:14, the first penalty of the game went to Martin Marincin for holding.  The Blues played a strong two minutes with some excellent scoring chances from Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera but came up empty.

Then at 8:08 Derek Roy was called for hooking Jaskin.  The Blues made better use of the power play but still couldn’t get a goal out of the advantage.  The Oilers came back with some increased pressure in the second half of the period.  However at 14:20 Stastny scored on an effortless backhand to give the Blues a late 2-1 lead.  Ian Cole received the only assist.

With 1:30 left the Oilers pulled their goalie for an extra skater.  Then with 53 seconds left Stastny went to the box for concealing the puck.  This penalty gave the Oilers a 6-4 advantage.  The Blues held on, though and cleared the puck in the final seconds to secure a 2-1 win.


This game may not have been the best start for the Blues but it certainly went in their favor as time went on.  All four lines put constant pressure on the Oilers to keep them on their heels for a majority of the game.  This was also a cleanly played match, with only a few penalties that came late in the game.  In several recent games the Blues have struggled with taking unnecessary penalties which robbed them of momentum or put them in a bad strategical position.  Of course, while the Blues only took one of the three penalties in this game, theirs was the worst.  Paul Stastny concealed the puck while the Oilers had a 6 on 5 advantage to put play at 6 on 4 for almost a minute.  Not the most ideal way to close out a game.

Feb 26, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund (21) celebrates with the bench after scoring against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

But the breakout performance of the game most certainly has to be given to the third line of Stastny, Dmitrij Jaskin and Patrik Berglund.  Both of the Blues’ goals came from this line along with some smart plays.  Honorable mention goes to the fourth line of Ryan Reaves, Steve Ott and Marcel Goc who worked well with the third liners in the midst of changes for seamless pressure and cross-line playmaking.

Aside from the bad late penalty, Stastny was the hero of the game with a goal and an assist.  However Berglund deserves a closer look in light of his performance over the past few games.  Bergie saved the Blues from being shutout by the Dallas Stars a few weeks back after scoring the Blues’ only goal.  He had an assist against the Bruins and went cold for a few games.  But Berglund scored the first goal against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and set the first goal against the Oilers in motion.  Bergie takes a lot of heat from fans, but as Jeff Ponder points out: Berglund’s value should not be underestimated.  Coach Hitchcock must see it as well, considering Berglund earned himself a spot on the first line earlier this week.

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