Blues-Oilers Preview

The St. Louis Blues’ winning streak is over – and for at least

one start, so is rookie Jake Allen’s run in net.

Veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak might be the change the Blues

need to get back on track.

Halak will try to help St. Louis win its fifth straight over the

Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

With the Blues (16-11-2) going for a fourth consecutive victory,

Allen, who has at least for now taken over the No. 1 job from Halak

and Brian Elliott, allowed three second-period goals in Tuesday’s

3-2 loss at Vancouver.

“We played a good 40 minutes, but the other 20 minutes cost us

the game,” said center Patrik Berglund, who tied Chris Stewart for

the team lead with his 14th goal.

Coach Ken Hitchcock deciding to give Halak his first start in

five games could give the Blues their best chance to win on

Saturday. He has been in net each time during St. Louis’ winning

streak over Edmonton, posting a 1.75 goals-against average, and

stopped 15 shots in a 4-2 home win March 1.

Halak will face an Oilers club that’s worked its way back to the

fringe of the crowded Western Conference playoff picture with a

3-0-2 stretch. Edmonton (11-11-7), though, is coming off a 4-3

shootout loss to San Jose on Wednesday in a game it led 3-1 in the

third period.

“It’s painful, but we have to look at the fact that we have

points in five games and move forward,” said coach Ralph Krueger,

whose team is seeking its first postseason berth in seven

seasons.

The Blues have dropped five of seven on the road, but they’re

8-3-3 in their last 14 at Edmonton following a 5-2 victory last

Feb. 29.

Center Andy McDonald, who scored twice in that victory, will

face the Oilers for the first time this season after returning from

a 10-game injury absence (knee) on Tuesday.

Blues center T.J. Oshie is expected to play after missing the

last three contests with a rib injury. He set up Jaden Schwartz and

captain David Backes for goals in the win over Edmonton earlier

this month as St. Louis rallied from two down after 20 minutes.

The Oilers could have center Ryan-Nugent Hopkins back after he

missed Wednesday’s game with the flu. The former No. 1 overall pick

is tied for 11th on the club with two goals.

Center Sam Gagner, the team leader with 12, has five goals and

two assists in a five-game point streak. He has totaled one assist

in the losing streak to St. Louis.

Stewart, the NHL’s first star of the week, has two goals and

three points in that stretch after setting up Kevin Shattenkirk’s

game-tying goal on March 1.

Devan Dubnyk turned aside 26 shots in that game as his career

record versus St. Louis fell to 0-7-0 with a 4.72 GAA. He’s started

Edmonton’s last 11 games.

The Blues are 10-1-1 in the last 12 in this series, which

continues Tuesday in St. Louis.