EDMONTON OILERS (16-20-4) at
ST. LOUIS BLUES (19-14-4)
6:38 p.m. MST
Molson Canadian Oilers Pay Per View (starts at 6:15 p.m. MST)
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Edmonton/St. Louis Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
The Oilers hope that 2008 can start better than 2007 ended as they look to get back in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Edmonton concluded 2007 with a stretch of six games without a win (0-4-2) and moved seven points out of the playoffs and four games under .500 as a result.
A win tonight would close the gap between the Oilers and 9th-place St. Louis Blues to four points and get the team on the right track. It would also improve their record to 1-1-1 on this four-game road trip with a chance to finish the trip above .500 with a win tomorrow in Nashville.
St. Louis has struggled as well lately with only one win in their last five games. That win game on New Year's Eve against the league's top team in Detroit by a score of 2-0 so the Blues might be out of their funk.
Overall, both teams were equal throughout the month of December with 5-6-3 records. This is the third meeting of the season between Edmonton and St. Louis. Both teams have won a game previously.
Just The Facts...
Mathieu Garon gets the start in goal tonight while defenceman Joni Pitkanen makes his return to the lineup. Geoff Sanderson also draws in for the Oilers. It's expected Denis Grebeshkov and Sam Gagner
will be healthy scratches.
TONIGHT'S GAME ON MOLSON CANADIAN OILERS PPV:
Tonight's game can be seen on Molson Canadian Oilers PPV. Head out to a local establishment to watch the game or order it in the comfort of your own home. Click here for information on how to order the game
OILERS TO WATCH:
Ethan Moreau has come out of the gates on fire this season for the Oilers with three points - one goal, two assists - in two games... After going nine straight games without a point, Andrew Cogliano
has picked up points in three of his last four games including each of the last two contests... Shawn Horcoff
has been without a point in each of the last six games - the same stretch of games in which Edmonton has been winless. Prior to this stretch, he was only held without a point in 11 games all season long. Edmonton's record this season when Horcoff picks up a point is 12-9-2.
BLUES TO WATCH:
Brad Boyes is having a career season for the Blues with 21 goals in 37 games. His previous career high is 26 goals set with Boston in 2005-06 in 82 games. He is on pace for 47 right now. Boyes has given the Oilers their fair share of headaches this season with three goals and five points in two games... All three goals scored by Blues defenceman Erik Johnson this season have been game winners. He has 10 assists this season and four have come in the two games against Edmonton... Manny Legace could be getting his first start this season versus the Oilers. He has been the Blues' number one goaltender with a 14-10-2 record and 2.20 GAA in 27 appearances.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (back) is questionable. Ales Hemsky
(knee) is doubtful. Matt Greene (ankle) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; St. Louis – Andy McDonald (chest) is questionable. Martin Rucinsky (shoulder) is questionable. Barret Jackman (concussion) is out.
The Blues have scored the first goal in nine of their last 14 games and are 13-6-0 this season overall when getting that opening goal. They are 9-1-0 when leading after the first period and 11-0-1 when leading after two... When the Blues allow two goals or less in a game they're 15-4-0... Edmonton averages 30.6 shots against per game but St. Louis is only 5-4-0 when taking more than 30 shots in one game... The Blues have 19 power play goals scored this season and Paul Kariya has had a goal or assist in nine of them.
The Other Side
- Boyes Finds A Home in St. Louis - Playing at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston last week was a homecoming of sorts for Brad Boyes...but then again, not really. After spending time with four NHL teams since being drafted, Boyes may have finally found a home with the Blues. ...more
- Blues Prospects Ranked No. 1 - Blues draft picks such as Lars Eller (pictured) have helped the Blues prospects earn a No. 1 overall ranking at Hockey's Future for the fall of 2007. The top-rated prospects include Eller, Erik Johnson and T.J. Oshie, among others. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Garon wins December Molson Cup - Mathieu Garon is the winner of the Molson Cup segment for December. Garon had 30 points during the month with three first star selections, two second star selections and one third star selection. ...more
- New Year, new wallpaper - With the end of 2007 only hours away, it's time for a new Oilers desktop wallpaper. Follow the link to download four different variations of the January calendar for your computer. ...more
From the Wire
The Edmonton Oilers need their best players to perform as such if they are to return to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Lately, though, they haven't produced nearly enough offense and that has resulted in the team's longest losing streak of the season.
The Oilers look to record their first regulation win in exactly one month Wednesday night when they continue a four-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues.
Edmonton (16-20-4), which underwent a franchise-record 12-game losing streak last season, dropped its sixth in a row Monday with a 4-2 loss at Columbus.
Ethan Moreau scored one goal and set up another for the Oilers, who have led or been tied in the third period in each contest during the skid.
"Very disappointing tonight," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "I thought we played terrific hockey for the better part of the game. That same old play beat us in the end, the back-side empty-netter, really."
The loss dropped the Oilers to 0-4-2 in their last six games. They are 4-6-3 in 13 contests since their last regulation victory - a 4-0 win at Anaheim on Dec. 2.
Shawn Horcoff, the team leader in goals (16) and points (34), was held scoreless for the sixth consecutive game. Defenseman Sheldon Souray, the Oilers' biggest offseason acquisition, has two goals in 15 games after scoring 26 last season with Montreal.
Right wing Dustin Penner, signed to a five-year, $21.5 million contract on July 25, has one goal in his last nine games. Right wing Ales Hemsky, second on Edmonton with 29 points, also has one goal in the last nine games he's played, but has missed the last three with a knee injury.
Mathieu Garon figures to be back in net after backing up Dwayne Roloson against Columbus. Garon has lost his last three starts despite a 2.37 goals-against average in that span.
The Blues (19-14-4) ended a four-game skid in impressive fashion Monday, winning 2-0 at league-best Detroit, which had at least one point in 10 straight home games.
Manny Legace stopped 31 shots for his 20th career shutout, St. Louis' first at Detroit since Jan. 11, 1993.
"The guys played phenomenal for me," said Legace, who played with Detroit from 1999-2006. "You have to bring your A-game (against the Red Wings) or you'll look bad."
Rookie defenseman Erik Johnson snapped the scoreless tie at 5:47 of the third period with his first goal since Nov. 23.
"I was getting a little frustrated because I've been in a drought," Johnson said. "But tonight I was saying, 'Feed me the rock, feed me the rock and I'll pound it.'"
The Blues look to get their offense going at home, where they are 1-4-1 in their last six games, getting shut out in the past two.
Center Andy McDonald is likely to miss his fourth straight game with a pulled chest muscle. He has one goal and four assists in five games with St. Louis since he was acquired from Anaheim.
The Blues are 1-0-1 this season against the Oilers, losing 5-4 in a shootout at home on Dec. 11. St. Louis is 7-1-1 in the past nine overall meetings.