Blues blank Oilers 4-0 in St. Louis
|Edmonton's Jeff Petry battles with St. Louis forward Philip McRae during the first period of Thursday night's game. (Getty Images)
Edmonton's attack went silent as St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped all 12 shots he faced to earn his 17th career shutout. Third period goals by Matt D'Agostini, Chris Stewart and Adam Cracknell sealed the outcome, as the Blues defeated the Oilers 4-0 at Scottrade Center Thursday night.
With so much being made of the need for a quick start, the Oilers did just that in an effort to stretch the St. Louis defence early. Only 1:30 into the game, Jason Strudwick
found a streaking Teemu Hartikainen
for a breakaway opportunity. After making a series of dekes, the chance was turned aside by the blocker of Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
That early opportunity appeared to spark some energy. At 3:08, Jim Vandermeer
and Cam Janssen dropped the gloves and engaged in an extended and highly spirited bout. With solid punches landed on both sides, a draw was awarded to the combatants.
Moments later and before the puck could be dropped to restart the play, Theo Peckham
went toe-to-toe with Ryan Reaves. This short-lived battle ended with the Blues rookie on top with the decision. Within minutes, Scottrade Center was alive with energy as the crowd raised the noise to a deafening volume.
For the next few minutes, emotions would temper and the game settled into a consistent pace. At the 8:37 mark, however, Liam Reddox
would be assessed a hooking minor, sending St. Louis to the game's first power-play. Active sticks by the penalty killers would nullify the chance, keeping the game scoreless passed the midway point of the opening period.
St. Louis held a 7-2 shot advantage at this point in the game.
Just when things appeared to settle down, J-F Jacques made his presence known with a heavy hit on Blues forward Chris Porter. Fellow initialed name BJ Crombeen took exception and dropped the mitts with Jacques in yet another extended bout. With some late round shots, the Blues winger earned the decision.
Jacques would be charged with an interference minor on the play, however, sending St. Louis to its second man-advantage of the evening. Similar to their earlier opportunity, the Blues would come up empty.
Despite the scoreless period, action was aplenty as the teams skated into the intermission. After 20 minutes of play, St. Louis held a 9-5 shot advantage and was 0-2 on the power-play.
The middle frame began with a refrained physical side, as the fight-filled action would become a thing of the past. The Oilers quickly turned up the offensive attack and were able to generate a a number of scoring chances through sustained pressure early in the period.
As such, the Oilers were able to earn their first power-play chance of the night when Blues winger Adam Cracknell was sent off for holding at 7:22. That opportunity would pass without incident, and the man-advantage tables would turn during that two-minute period.
With two seconds remaining in Cracknell's minor, Linus Omark
was assessed a hooking penalty when he saved a glorious shorthanded attempt by Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues would be unable to capitalize and would eventually even up the number of attackers when Andy McDonald was charged for holding at 10:45.
Passed the midway point of the period, neither team had found the back of the net and St. Louis held a slim 12-10 edge in shots.
The stalemate was finally broken late in the period when St. Louis netted the ice-breaker. Following a defensive zone turnover by Magnus Paajarvi
, Blues forward TJ Oshie collected the puck near the bottom of the far circle. With Khabibulin committed, Oshie released a quick wrister that beat the Oilers netminder, setting the score 1-0 for the home side at 18:28.
With two periods in the books, the Oilers trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard and 16-10 on the shot clock.
Edmonton's comeback effort was slowed early in the period when Reddox was charged with tripping at 48 seconds, sending St. Louis to its fourth power-play opportunity of the evening. Unlike their previous three attempts with the man-advantage, the Blues would be successful. Matt D'Agostini curled from the corner before releasing a shot that squeaked through the legs of Khabibulin, putting the visitors down by a pair.
Along with the 2-0 edge on the scoreboard, St. Louis had doubled Edmonton's shot total with a 20-10 lead.
BJ Crombeen would soon provide the Oilers with another chance on the power-play, as he was called for hooking at 4:27. The Oilers would be unable to generate much in the way of scoring chances, and the Blues' 2-0 advantage would carry as the midway point approached.
A Jim Vandermeer
minor for high-sticking put Edmonton on the disadvantage once again, and the Blues would make the Oilers pay with a clever cross-crease feed that sound the stick of Chris Stewart at the doorstep. The Blues forward one-timed the pass behind Khabibulin, putting the Oilers down by three at 8:30.
Things would not get much better for the visitors as the period progressed. The Blues would extend to a 4-0 lead, as Cracknell one-timed a Shattenkirk pass past Khabibulin at 15:07.
The final few minutes would elapse as the Oilers fell 4-0 to the Blues in St. Louis. Edmonton was only able to record two shots on goal in the third period, setting the final tally at 30-12 for the home side.
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