GAME STORY presented by CENOVUS

Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Blues

An in-depth look at Saturday's overtime victory over the Blues

Sunday, 05.12.2010 / 1:40 AM / Cenovus Game Story
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com
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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Blues
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Taylor Hall scored the overtime winning goal in dramatic fashion as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Saturday night at Rexall Place.

While most of the game was played in a scoreless battle of defensive play, the offensive guns came to shine in the third period. The Oilers opened the scoring early when Magnus Paajarvi set up Ryan Jones for a tap-in following a beautifully orchestrated two-on-one. The Oilers held the advantage for much of the period, before former-Oiler Eric Brewer tied the game with a seeing-eye wrist shot in the game's final six minutes.

That set the stage for some dramatics. In overtime, Hall collected the puck near the offensive blueline and skated in alone on Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak. A perfectly-placed snapshot through the wickets of the Slovakian goaltender ended the game and extended Edmonton's winning streak to four.

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


Taylor Hall turned the tide for the final time, as his recent hot play continued with his cap on another excellent evening. A neutral zone transition sent the dynamic winger in alone. Hall, full-flight with his signature speed, kept things simple. A quick snapshot five-hole beat Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak and sent the sold-out Rexall Place crowd home happy. The goal won the game for the Oilers 2-1, and extended the winning streak to an impressive four in a row. Hall has now scored nine on the season and leads his team in this category.


47 The Oilers won 47% of the draws tonight. Captain Shawn Horcoff led the way with an impressive 64% efficiency rate.
20 The Oilers showed an incredible commitment to physical play tonight. In total, the Oilers recorded 20 hits; Ryan Jones and Jim Vandermeer each recorded five.
18 In addition to their goaltender making a number of key saves, the skaters helped to keep the Blues at bay. At the end of the evening, the Oilers had recorded an amazing 18 blocked shots (the Blues blocked only nine).
4 The Oilers have now won four consecutive games, doubling up the previous winning streak total on the season.


Nikolai Khabibulin
SA SV GA TOI SV%
32 31 1 60:23 .967


Jaroslav Halak
SA SV GA TOI SV%
26 24 2 60:23 .923


Taylor Hall
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 4



BLUES
Jaroslav Halak
SA SV GA TOI SV%
26 24 2 60:23 .923

OILERS
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA SV GA TOI SV%
32 31 1 60:23 .967



BLUES
Eric Brewer - D

24:03 - 1G, +1 rating

OILERS
Ryan Whitney - D

23:58 - 1A, +1 rating

Nikolai Khabibulin followed up his shutout performance vs. Toronto with yet another stunning game tonight. While the veteran goaltender made 31 brilliant saves on the night, none were more impressive than his stop on St. Louis' Andy McDonald in the waning moments of the second period. A cross-crease feed from Alex Steen found the tape of McDonald, where it appeared to be an easy tap-in. Khabibulin came across with a strong push and denied the Blues forward on the goal line with his right pad; an exceptional save that highlighted another MVP evening.


Nikolai Khabibulin had another brilliant evening between the pipes. While the veteran netminder was unable to procure the shutout late in the game, his efforts were certainly deserving of the victory. Khabibulin made 31 saves and allowed only one goal, as the Oilers beat the Blues in overtime. Khabibulin has now recorded two consecutive wins since returning from injury and has been the MVP in both contests.


While every Oiler has been upping his game on the recent winning streak, Jim Vandermeer has seen one of the greatest turnarounds since being paired with Ryan Whitney. Vandermeer played an incredibly solid 21:05 tonight, which was highlighted by a team-best five hits. They stay-at-home blueliner was one of the team's most reliable defencemen on this night, as he provide a physical edge and a calm breakout pass that helped to kickstart the offensive attack.


Because of his strengths in other areas, top defenceman Ryan Whitney isn't necessarily known for his physical game. With that said, the skilled blueliner is definitely showing greater commitment to this area of his game. Midway through the second period, Whitney lined up Blues forward David Backes after he chipped the puck into the corner. Whitney connected with a solid shoulder-to-shoulder jolt that rattled the forward and successfully separated him from the puck.



While Jordan Eberle continues to climb the leaderboard in the rookie scoring race, he's doing so by playing some incredible minutes. Eberle leads all NHL rookie forwards ice-time with 18:38 per game.



"We've got to continue to push forward and try to improve every day and get better. There's still some things from that game that we want to improve upon, and hopefully carry it into next game."

Sam Gagner on the win over St. Louis




Tuesday, December 7 vs. Anaheim
  7:30 p.m. MT (TSN / 630 CHED)


With the win Saturday night, Edmonton's winning streak is now at four as the six-game homestand continues. The Oilers will hope to improve on this record Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks pay a visit to Rexall Place.

Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com