Blues-Oilers Preview

The St. Louis Blues have used strong starts to help capture the
first three games of their six-game trip.

They’ll try for their first four-game road win streak in nearly
three years Wednesday night when they meet the Edmonton Oilers.

St. Louis (39-17-7) is in a tight race with Vancouver and
Detroit for the Western Conference’s best record. The Blues have
been opportunistic on this trip, building a lead after one period
each time en route to three victories.

After winning shootouts in Nashville and Winnipeg, St. Louis got
two goals from Jason Arnott and 20 saves from Jaroslav Halak in
Monday’s 3-1 victory over Calgary. Arnott, who spent his first four
full seasons with Edmonton from 1993-97, now has four points in
four games.

“He’s a guy that’s obviously been through the motions, he’s been
in the playoffs, he’s won a (Stanley) Cup, he knows what it takes
and this time of year, you need guys like that,” right wing David
Backes said.

The Blues, just 13-13-3 away from home this season, are in
position for their first four-game road win streak since Feb.
19-March 6, 2009. They remain without Jamie Langenbrunner (broken
left foot), Matt D’Agostini (concussion), Alex Steen (concussion)
and Kris Russell (concussion-like symptoms).

“We’ve got great chemistry in here … and we’ve got some key
guys out for us right now that are going to help us down the
stretch and in the playoffs,” Arnott said.

St. Louis has won two of three against Edmonton (25-31-6) this
season, with the home team winning each time. Halak has started all
three games, posting a 2.35 goals-against average and recording his
second shutout in his last four starts against the Oilers in a 1-0
win in the most recent meeting Jan. 19.

Halak has a 1.58 GAA in starting the first three games of this
trip. He is 0-1-1 with a 3.03 GAA in two starts at Rexall Place,
where Brian Elliott has a 1.95 GAA in winning all three of his
outings.

The Oilers have won three of four following Monday’s 5-3 victory
at Winnipeg. They scored four straight goals after entering the
third period down by one.

“I like the way we handled the game in general,” coach Tom
Renney said. “It was a bit of a track meet at times, naturally.
Certainly being able to come out and really go to work in the third
period was important to us.”

The wild game was scoreless before the teams combined for three
goals in the final 4:15 of the second period. The Oilers responded
by scoring twice in the first 2:29 of the third to take
control.

Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist, giving him six points
during a four-game run, and veteran winger Ryan Smyth notched his
800th point by assisting on Jordan Eberle’s team-high 28th goal in
the third.

“Good for Ryan,” Renney said. “He’s certainly been a heart and
soul guy in this organization, and his second go-around makes you
feel like he’d never left. And I know he’s very much appreciated by
the whole organization.”

Devan Dubnyk has a 4.67 GAA in losing all five career starts
against St. Louis, so Edmonton may turn to Nikolai Khabibulin, who
said he’s ready to return from a groin injury after sitting out the
last four games. Khabibulin’s 21 wins over the Blues are his
second-highest total against any team, but he is 1-8-2 with a 3.86
GAA since Christmas.