The Edmonton Oilers will look to shed the St. Louis Blues’ defensive blanket during an early-season rematch on the road Wednesday night.
The Blues defeated the Oilers 2-0 on Saturday at Edmonton, holding a potent offense to 23 shots during Jordan Binnington’s shutout.
“They are a well-rehearsed team,” Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie said. “They have been through the wringer and understand what it takes to win and the style of game they need to play. They are a defensive team. They don’t trade chances.”
The Blues clogged up the neutral zone and tried to impede elite Oilers forwards Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid at every opportunity.
“It was a muddy track,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “That’s the way they play.”
The Oilers got back into their high offensive gear Monday while rolling to 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. After a slow start, they scored five unanswered goals to seize control.
“It seems very obvious with our group that the second we start skating and being engaged that (we) are extremely hard to stop,” said Draisaitl, who scored a goal and added two assists. “It just takes us too long to get to that point as of right now. That is something we can obviously work on.”
After a 3-3 homestand to start its season, Edmonton will begin a three-game road swing.
They will catch the Blues coming off a 4-0 loss at Winnipeg. St. Louis had a myriad breakdowns while losing for the first time after a 3-0-0 start.
The Blues had lapses in defensive coverage, took some bad penalties and lacked offensive cohesion.
“We deviated coming off a big, emotional win against Edmonton,” Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “Whether we wanted it a little easier, we just kind of got away. We’ve got to stick with that game play, be hard to play against and not be the team to break. But we broke first and it just gave them momentum.”
The Blues generated plenty of scoring chances during the first period, but faded while the Jets gathered speed.
“It’s a night where we’re all wanting to make a good play, but just overthinking it and not being clean,” O’Reilly said. “Not executing. It’s tough to gain any momentum and take over a game like that. So it happens, we’ll respond, we all can be better and go from there.”
They will try to clean up their game before facing Edmonton.
“That wasn’t our best,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn said. “And we’ll flush it out and get ready for a good Oiler team.”
The Blues will be without key forward Pavel Buchnevich (lower-body injury), who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Brandon Saad (upper-body injury) could miss Wednesday’s game. Forward Logan Brown made his season debut Monday after recovering from his preseason shoulder injury.
After giving backup goaltender Thomas Greiss his first start of the season in Winnipeg, the Blues could come back with Binnington (3-0-0, 1.65 goals-against average, .940 save percentage) against the Oilers.
The Oilers face the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks on back-to-back nights, so goalies Jack Campbell (3-2-0, 3.62 GAA, .895 save percentage) and Stuart Skinner (0-1-0, 1.69, .944) figure to split the games.
–Field Level Media