MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers at Blues
Whitney and Peckham are in, Fistric and Potter are out & more from Friday morning
|TV: Sportsnet West (HD)
RADIO: 630 CHED & Oilers Radio Network
PUCK DROP: 6:08 p.m. MT
AT THE TEAM'S HOTELST. LOUIS, MO - After an overnight flight from Dallas to St. Louis, the Edmonton Oilers had a team meeting on Friday ahead of tonight's tail end of a back-to-back set against the St. Louis Blues.
The Oilers come into the game a bit banged up on the back end.
"Corey Potter sustained a head injury last night which we would put into the category of day-to-day, like the one with Petrell last week," said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger. "It's precautionary. He's sitting out today. Mark Fistric has an elbow injury which is also a day-to-day injury. We're just going to give it rest today."
Ryan Whitney and Theo Peckham were among a small group of skaters who took part in the morning skate at the Scottrade Center and both will draw in.
"We'll bring in Peckham and Whitney tonight and up front everything is as is."
Krueger added that Whitney and Peckham will be a likely pair on the back end to start the game at the very least but beyond that, he was still going to have some discussion with his coaching staff.
"We're going to take a good look at that this afternoon. We were waiting for all the medical assessments and just got them an hour ago. It's about building the team but initially we will start with them as a pair."
The Oilers bench boss talked about the loss of Fistric, who had been playing some of his best hockey of the season as of late.
"It's an acute injury that has some swelling today. You'd like to give it a couple days and then assess it but we really see it as a day-to-day right now," he began. "What we like is specialists and Mark is a specialist in what he does. He's a physical presence at all times on the ice, he's uncomfortable to play against and a stabilizing factor on our defence. He's been really excellent for us as a person too so the whole package has been what we expected."
ALL GOOD WITH JONES
Krueger mentioned that it's status quo up front, which means that Ryan Jones will play after taking a shot from the Stars' Jamie Benn late last night.
"I'm doing pretty good," said Jones this afternoon. "A little bit sore, obviously. You don't get hit like that without having some sort of soreness but I'll live. It's not the worst thing I've ever experience, that's for sure."
Jones stated that the team is heading into tonight's game with some positive momentum after a big win in Texas last night.
"As an entire team, four lines deep, we played a solid road hockey game. We didn't do anything too spectacular. We threw pucks on net and forced Lehtonen to see some shots that he probably didn't want to see in his first game back, so we were a little bit opportunistic and hopefully we can carry that on."
Taylor Hall echoed Jones' thoughts.
"We know the circumstances that we hadn't won there in a long time and we had a bad record against that team," he said. "I think we just wanted to come out against that team and play our game. Getting a goal on the first couple of shifts was huge and it just goes to show that if you have a good start it lets you settle into your own game and that's what happened last night."
The third-year winger added that back-to-back situations like tonight -- for both the Oilers and the Blues who played against Chicago last night -- are always a challenge.
"They're tough. You've got to regroup. Know what you did wrong, know what you did right in the previous game and try to get a good rest."
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
NHL.COM GAME PREVIEW
TV: RDS2, SNET-West, FS-Midwest
Last 10: Edmonton 4-4-2; St. Louis 4-4-2
Season series: This is the first of three meetings to be contested over the next 26 days. The Blues won the final three of four meetings last season, winning two by one goal, and are 9-2-1 against the Oilers over the past three seasons.
Big story: Each team played Thursday. The Blues lost for the third time in four games -- 3-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks; they have scored 1, 0, and 0 in the defeats, 2 in the win. After earning a point against the Blackhawks in a 3-2 overtime loss Monday, the Oilers won the second game of their nine-game road trip, 5-1 in Dallas. Edmonton can tie St. Louis in points with a regulation win; the teams were 45 points apart in the Western Conference at the end of last season.
Oilers: Edmonton has five of a possible six points in its past three games after getting seven points in the 10 games prior.
"Especially now on this long road trip, we need to get as many points as we can, and obviously these kind of wins are huge for our team," forward Lennart Petrell said Thursday.
Five different players scored against Dallas.
"We had a good energy out of the Chicago game and we were able to regenerate here for a couple of days," coach Ralph Krueger said.
The Oilers will remain on the road until a week from Tuesday, March 12.
"I think we're playing solid," Sam Gagner said. "The biggest thing for us is to continue with those same habits. You're not going to get the results every single night but if you worry about the process, and worry about having the right habits, over time, I think with our skill, things are going to go our way. ...
"I feel like throughout this trip so far, we've done that, and we've got a lot left here, and we've just got to make sure every night we come with that same effort, same consistency and hopefully get on a roll here."
Blues: After going 6-1-0 in a short January schedule, St. Louis managed just four wins in 12 February games, with a 1-5-1 record at home.
"Our fans deserve better, and I think everyone here knows that we've got more, and it needs to come out right away," captain David Backes said.
Chicago's Jonathan Toews scored 12 seconds into Thursday's game, and the Blues never recovered.
"Lessons are going to be learned and we're going to have to be better tomorrow night," said Backes, whose line was on ice for that opening shift.
St. Louis had nine giveaways to Chicago's one.
"I thought we had some good players today, but we also had some guys who struggled a little bit to keep up," coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The Blues played Thursday without their entire forward line of Andy McDonald, Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, all sidelined by injury. Those key power-play participants were missed as the Blues finished a fifth straight game without a PP goal after getting at least one in eight straight.
"We're not going to use injuries as an excuse; eveyone's got them this time of year," Backes said. "We've just got to push through and make sure that we're finding ways to have success rather than finding things to use as excuses and rest on.
"We've got another one tomorrow that we've got to turn around quick, and play a high-tempo offensive team in Edmonton."
Goalie Brian Elliot could get back into net here or Sunday at Dallas.
Who's hot: Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz has five points in his past five games, and his 12 points are tied for third among NHL rookies. Gagner has seven points in his past six games; forward Ales Hemsky had three points Thursday. … Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak has stopped 58 of 63 shots (.920) in three games since returning from injury.
Injury report: Oilers defenseman Cory Potter (head) was injured in Thursday's game and his status will be determined Friday. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) was placed on injured reserve this week. Forward Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder) is day-to-day. Forward Shawn Horcoff (hand) is week-to-week, forward Anton Lander (foot) is three weeks into a four-week recovery, and defenseman Andy Sutton (knee) is out indefinitely. … Steen (upper body) practiced briefly Thursday and could return Friday or Saturday. McDonald (left leg) is out on a week-to-week basis. Tarasenko's return from a concussion is unknown.
-- Mike Battaglino - NHL.com Staff Writer