Scoreless through 54:46, the Oilers and Blues were even all night. Although the home side vaulted out to a commanding 19-4 lead in shots in the opening period, the Oilers battled back but were unable to contain the league's hottest team all night.
Late in the third period, St. Louis' Alex Pietrangelo scored on a wraparound to put his squad up 1-0; an insurmountable hill, as the Oilers dropped a one-goal decision to the Blues at Scottrade Center.
was assigned with nine St. Louis shots in the game's opening three minutes, including a high-quality Vladimir Sobotka high-slot shot in which the 39-year-old emphatically snatched with his glove.
As the Blues opened up an 11-0 lead on the shot clock, Andy Sutton
was assessed an elbowing minor at 4:24, sending St. Louis' 13.8-percent power-play to work. The Oilers allowed another three atempts to reach Khabibulin, but a well-timed block by Ladislav Smid
helped preserve the scoreless tie.
The Oilers' record for most shots allowed in a single period is 29. It happened during the second period on Nov. 7, 1979 when the Detroit Red Wings beat the orange and blue 5-3.
With 5:39 to play, Ben Eager
(who was promoted to the top line) dropped the mitts with St. Louis' BJ Crombeen in a highly-spirited bout in the neutral zone. No. 55 got the edge in the tilt, and it appeared as though he would be issued a game misconduct for not having his sweater tied down, but the strap snapped in the tussle.
Ex-Oiler Jason Arnott was assessed a holding the stick minor late in the period, putting the Oilers' second-best man-advantage to work. Jordan Eberle
choreographed his team's (at the time) best chance when he dangled his way in and snapped a quick shot on goal, but Jaroslav turned it aside with his right pad.
Moments later, Ales Hemsky
was sprung on a partial breakaway and nearly beat Halak upstairs, but the goalie caught a piece with his glove to keep the game knotted. As a result, the clubs headed to the locker room in a 0-0 score while the home side continued to lead in shots by a 19-4 margin.
Following a whistle in the Blues zone at 2:36, St. Louis' Scott Nichol raced in to Halak's crease and obliterated an unspecting Darcy Hordichuk
. A quick melee ensued, but the Oilers were sent back to the power-play (which, for the second time in the game, was unable to score).
As the period's 10-minute mark passed, the Oilers were carrying the play and had closed the Blues' lead in shots to a 22-9 advantage.
With 5:37 to play and on a dangerous looking rush, TJ Oshie located a streaking Jason Arnott down the middle. No. 44 connected with the pass, but Khabibulin came up big to stone the opportunity. On the same sequence, however, Corey Potter
was assessed a hooking minor.
was charged with roughing 1:36 in, making it a 5-on-3 advantage for the home side. The Blues rifled pucks at will, but Khabibulin stood tall in making several gold-star stops without his stick to keep the game in a 0-0 score.
With Josh Green
and Patrik Berglund each serving penalties late in the period, the Oilers added another when the captain was sent to the box to serve a tripping minor at 19:34.
With 28 seconds remaining in the existing penalty, Sutton was charged with tripping, putting the Blues on their second 5-on-3 advantage of the game. That, too, was killed and the scoreless game progressed.
With the Blues pressing to record the icebreaker, a minute-long sequence in the Oilers' end at 14:46 resulted in a goal for the home side. Alex Pietrangelo swung around the net and wrapped the puck near side on Khabibulin, who was unable to get over in time to stop the shot.
The Oilers pulled Khabibulin for an extra-attacker with 1:30 remaining, but the visitors were unable to record a shot, let alone a goal, as the Blues cruised to 1-0 win.
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