Andy McDonald scored twice, while Kevin Shattenkirk picked up a goal and two assists as the St. Blues vaulted out to a pair of three-goal leads, with the last holding up in a 5-2 win over the Oilers Wednesday night at Rexall Place.
and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
scored the Oilers' goals, both coming in the second period.
The Blues, who are a dominant 25-7-2 when scoring first, did just that only 59 seconds into the game. Cam Barker
got caught up-ice on an ill-advised and unusually soft pinch, enabling the visitors to break out on a 2-on-1. Back was Corey Potter
, but Andy McDonald was looking shot on the way. Devan Dubnyk
didn't challenge a whole lot, allowing the sniper's shot to beat him clean, blocker side.
The Oilers nearly tied it up shortly therafter when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
directed a crafty, no-look pass to Taylor Hall
at the doorstep, but No. 4's attempt was thwarted, point-blank, by Jaroslav Halak's sprawling effort.
The visitors nearly extended the lead just past the period's 10-minute mark when Patrik Berglund burst across the line, ripped a dump-in off the end-boards and chased his own rebound. His quick-strike rifle caught iron, however, keeping the Oilers' disadvantage at a single tally.
With 5:12 to play and with the home side in need of a spark, Darcy Hordichuk
rolled into the opponent's end and crunched St. Louis' Kent Huskins with a bone-jarring, shoulder-to-shoulder hit along the side-boards. In response, Ryan Reaves challenged the Oilers' tough guy. In the brief tilt, the pair tumbled to the ice after losing their balance in what could only be described as a draw.
With 20 minutes in the books, the Blues continued to lead 1-0 as they held a slim 8-7 edge in shots.
2:05 into the period and on the Blues' 11th shot, it became a 2-0 game. Barker stepped up in the neutral zone without accomplishing the stop as he'd intended, allowing Scott Nichol to race in and blast a bullet from the top of the circle; the 45-foot slapper eluded Dubnyk on the blocker side, much like the earlier marker.
It went from bad to worse 1:09 later when Sam Gagner
picked up a slashing minor, putting the visitors' 15.5-percent power-play to work. Fortunately for the home side, only two shots were added as the score remained the same.
With 12:26 to play, the Blues damaged the scoreboard once more. St. Louis' quick transition game, which the Oilers had struggled to handle all night, allowed TJ Oshie to speed up-ice on a 2-on-1; in placing a well-tuned pass intot he slot, McDonald collected it for a quick moment, before moving to his backhand and sliding it past Dubnyk for the 3-0 goal.
Having allowed three goals on 19 shots, Dubnyk was replaced by Yann Danis
between the pipes.
And it appeared to energize the troops. Just over minute after the Blues extended to the three-goal advantage, the Oilers sliced into the lead. Without hesitation on a side-board rebound, Corey Potter
stepped into a slapshot that beat Halak clean, bar-in, at 8:38 to make it 3-1.
Moments later, Ryan Reaves was sent off to serve a holding minor at 9:06. The Oilers were unable to generate much on the man-advantage; but just after it came to an end, Ales Hemsky
and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
hooked up on an odd-man rush, but the rookie's blocker-side shot struck the post.
With 6:26 to play, Ryan Smyth
was assessed a major penalty (and game misconduct) for checking Roman Polak from behind. Darcy Hordichuk
, who was serving the infraction, stepped back onto the ice without the Oilers allowing a single shot on the power-play.
Moments after its expiry, the Oilers went back to the attack. On the club's 15th shot, Taylor Hall
dished to Nugent-Hopkins at the crease's lip, allowing the 18-year-old to tap it in and bring the orange and blue within one. With a second assist on the play, Nick Schultz
picked up his first point as an Oiler.
The Oilers' momentum was squashed early on when Barker was assessed a slashing minor at 2:25. 1:03 into the power-play Kevin Shattenkirk redirected an Alex Pietrangelo pass at the doorstep, sliding it past Danis to restore the visitors' two-goal advantage.
The play began when Jeff Petry
looked to complete a stretch pass to Ryan Jones
, instead of sending it the length of the ice when the Oilers' four-man group was exhausted.
Following a dominant shift by the Oilers moments later, St. Louis' Chris Stewart was presented with a breakaway. Hall raced back to prevent the chance but, with a one-arm hook, the opportunity was negated; but a penalty shot was subsequently awarded.
The visitors' No. 25 skated in slowly and pulled a crafty forehand deke, sliding the puck around Danis to put his club up 5-2 at 7:54.
With 5:17 to play, Potter was assessed a delay of game minor when he launched the puck up and over the glass in his own end. Danis was tasked with three Blues shots on the power-play, all of which he turned aside.
Stoppages and sloppy play took control as the game wound down, allowing the Blues to cruise to a 5-2 victory.
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