Stewart has three goals, assist as Blues rout Oilers
The St. Louis Blues took the best the Edmonton Oilers had to give in the first period. After that, the rout was on.
Chris Stewart scored three goals and added an assist as the Blues took advantage of the reeling Oilers in a 6-0 victory on Saturday night.
Brenden Morrow, Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz also scored for the Blues (24-7-4), who are 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Brian Elliot made 23 saves to record his second shutout of the season and 23rd of his NHL career.
"They came out strong and we weathered the storm and scored one," Elliott said. "Then we settled into what we wanted to do in the second. We wanted to finish out with a good 20 minutes in the third.
"We were getting guys making plays, and obviously Stewart scoring three definitely helps on a night like tonight."
The Oilers (11-24-3) have lost a season-high six straight games, and they fell to 5-11-1 at home. It was the sixth time this season Edmonton has been shut out and the third time in five games.
The loss was so ugly that Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins held a lengthy team meeting after the game. He called out his club that is still struggling despite years of rebuilding efforts.
"I’m pinning this loss on the boneheaded mistakes we make when we have everything going in our favor," Eakins said. "It is like we love misery. It’s like, `Oh hold on a second, things are going too well here. Let’s have some misery.’
"I’ve had enough misery already, and we’ve got some players who have been here for a number of years that have to be done with it."
Edmonton controlled the bulk of the play through the first half of the opening period, outshooting St. Louis 10-1. However, St. Louis grabbed the lead.
Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov rushed out of the net to prevent Berglund from getting a breakaway after he stepped out of the penalty box, but couldn’t clear the zone. The puck came to Stewart at the side of the net before Bryzgalov could get back into position, and Stewart scored his 11th goal.
Edmonton ended up with 14-5 edge in shots in the first period but had nothing to show for it.
Oilers forward David Perron said Eakins was calmer than he would have been.
"(Eakins) wants us to look in the mirror and see if we are part of the solution," Perron said. "I think he is completely right. If I was him, I think I would have been tearing all four walls down.
"It is unacceptable the way we played in the second and third after a good first period like that."
The Blues went ahead by two goals six minutes into the second period on a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play. Derek Roy and Stewart got the puck to Morrow in front, and he lifted a backhander up high and into the net.
St. Louis made it 3-0 just shy of two minutes into the third period when Berglund made a feed from behind the net to Stewart, who scored his second of the night.
Only 56 seconds later, the Blues scored again. Schwartz crossed the blue line and unleashed a shot that seemed to fool Bryzgalov before it clipped the post and went in.
The lead grew to 5-0 seven minutes into the third with a power-play goal. Roy made a perfect feed through the crease to Stewart at the side of the net, and he completed his third career hat trick with a shot into the wide-open net.
"A huge credit to my linemates," Stewart said. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and they teed it up for me. I have to keep shooting I guess.
"I kind of had a rough start to the year, and I told myself I wasn’t going to pass up any more opportunities in the slot, I’m going to shoot to score, and it’s been working out as of late. It’s the same shots as earlier in the year, but there’s some eyes on them now."
St. Louis continued to pound on the Oilers with seven minutes left, and Bryzgalov allowed a soft goal on a long shot by Berglund that tipped off his glove before landing in the net. It was the NHL-leading ninth short-handed goal allowed by the Oilers this season.
NOTES: It was the first meeting since an offseason trade in which Perron was sent from the Blues to the Oilers for Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round draft pick. Perron entered the game with 27 points in 33 games, while Paajarvi had just two points in 15 games. … Edmonton D Corey Potter returned from a two-game suspension. … Oilers forward Ryan Jones missed the game after being knocked unconscious in a collision with captain Andrew Ference in the morning skate. … St. Louis captain David Backes returned to the lineup after missing two games with a concussion. Also out for the Blues were forwards Vladimir Sobotka (upper body) and Ryan Reaves (hand) and defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand).