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EDMONTON OILERS (9-10-2) at
ST. LOUIS BLUES (9-9-2)
Start Time: 12:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Saturday's Game Notes by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
For the first time this season, the Oilers have less wins than regulation losses.
Despite a good performance from Dwayne Roloson in net on Wednesday night versus the LA Kings, it was the offense that was the problem as it has been all season.
“It’s clear that it’s not working,” Craig MacTavish said on Thursday. “As long as I’ve been in the game, that’s how you prime the well offensively: you get in there and get your hands dirty and you go to the areas where you can get a break offensively.”
“We’ve got four or five guys that are operating quite below our level of expectation. That’s blindsided us.
“We have to realize what kind of team we are,” Captain Ethan Moreau said after Wednesday’s loss to the Kings. “We’re not overly physical up front...that’s not going to change. But we have guys who can skate and make plays...it’s just not there yet collectively.”
Edmonton will try and get back to .500 this afternoon in St. Louis. The Blues are coming off their first loss in three games, despite having their own offensive troubles. Former Oiler Daniel Tjarnqvist scored the game-winner vs. Colorado—his first goal in almost two years.
The Oilers will next take on the Dallas Stars on Sunday in Dallas.
Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Audio... Ales Hemsky
Friday's Audio: Sheldon Souray
Still to come: Kevin Lowe talks at length with Dan Tencer
Tim Sestito assigned to Springfield - General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have assigned centre Tim Sestito to the AHL's Springfield Falcons. The 6’0”, 195 pound New York native made his NHL debut November 26 vs. the L.A. Kings. ...more
The Other Side
Blues ready for Oilers tomorrow - The Blues are back home for a Saturday afternoon game with the Edmonton Oilers. There will be no local TV broadcast, so get your tickets before they're gone. The puck drops at 1 p.m. Tickets | ...more Janssen answers fans questions - In October, stlouisblues.com gave fans an opportunity to submit questions to Blues tough guy Cam Janssen. After hundreds of submitted questions, we narrowed them down. Check out his answers. ...more Blues acquire Steen, Colaiacovo -The Blues acquired Alex Steen (left) and Carlo Colaiacovo on Monday for Lee Stempniak. In the latest BluesCast, Chris Kerber has reaction from John Davidson, Andy Murray and Eric Brewer. Interview with Steen, Colaiacovo | ...more
Odds and Ends
The LINK: The Horcoffs Give Back - This edition of The Link looks at Horcoff's Heroes where Shawn Horcoff gives away a block of tickets to 20 Oilers home games throughout the season. We also look at the Gingerbread House competition featuring Cindy and Jade Horcoff. ...more 5 Questions with Dwayne Roloson - A certain cat, mouse, and golf nut named Bob are among Dwayne Roloson's favourite things. Click the link to check out his answers to five frequently (or not-so frequently) asked fan questions. ...more Download your December wallpaper! - Celebrate the final month of 2008 with one of three brand new Oilers wallpapers featuring the team's complete December schedule for your desktop. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
While St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray says his team is tired, Craig MacTavish believes his Edmonton Oilers are trying too hard.
Even so, it's hard to use those reasons to entirely justify just how bad their teams have been on offense.
The Blues and Oilers continue to search for ways to find the back of the net as two of the league's worst teams match up Saturday.
St. Louis (9-9-2) has been held to two goals or fewer in four of its last five games, and its last two performances on offense have been particularly anemic.
One night after winning 1-0 over Nashville in a shootout despite managing only 17 shots on goal, the Blues finished with 22 shots in a 3-1 loss to Colorado on Wednesday.
"It's a grind for us now," Murray said. "We played a lot of games, a lot of back-to-back. We just have to play with more hunger."
Despite St. Louis' struggles on offense, it had managed to earn at least a point in five straight games before facing the Avalanche. The Blues played the final 2:11 of that game with a 6-on-4 advantage, but couldn't score.
Center Alexander Steen and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, acquired in a trade with Toronto on Monday, each made their debuts with St. Louis. Steen's role in Toronto had diminished, but there is ample opportunity with the Blues due to injuries to Paul Kariya (hip), Andy McDonald (ankle) and T.J. Oshie (ankle).
Edmonton (9-10-2) is averaging 2.52 goals per game largely because its better offensive players have failed to produce. Winger Erik Cole, who scored 81 goals in his previous three seasons, has been held to three in 21 games.
A six-day break was supposed to help the Oilers recharge, but they went 0-for-5 with the man advantage in a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday night. They have been held to two goals or fewer in five of their last eight games.
"We're a tight group right now," MacTavish said. "The will and the try and all of those things based on effort are there. It's just a lack of execution in some pretty critical areas of the game offensively."
The Oilers have lost four of five, going 0-3-1 at home in that span. Edmonton will now play four of its next five on the road, where it has gone 3-1-0 after losing six of its previous eight.
The Oilers recorded their highest-scoring game of the season in their last road outing, beating Columbus 7-2 on Nov. 18.
Edmonton went 1-10-1 with three ties at St. Louis before winning both of its contests there last season, scoring eight goals. The Oilers won the season series 3-1-0.
Oilers No. 1 goaltender Dwayne Roloson is 5-3-1 with three ties and a 1.96 goals-against average in 12 games against the Blues. He's been even better at St. Louis, posting a 1.63 GAA in six contests.
Roloson, though, has struggled somewhat on the road this season, going 3-3-0 with a 3.18 GAA.