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.