I suppose it goes without saying that playing the Emonton Oilers tonight, on the first night of back-to-backs, is the very definition of a trap game. The Blues will need to stay in the moment and focus on just tonight's game. There are two points to be had, and we cannot afford to squander any. If they don't shoot themselves in the foot, there is no reason we can't take this in regulation and move on to the next game tomorrow. The Blues have the right stuff to win this game. They can't take it for granted, though: every single game will need to be fought for.
It's no secret that the Oilers are a bad team; poorly constructed and poorly led. In the 62 games played this year, they have a record of 18-34-10 for 46 points. They are in 2nd place in the McEichel Division, behind only Buffalo with 43 points. At this point, I think even the jersey-tossers are done with the season. The fans are either resigned to being a seller again at the deadline, and/or have embraced the tank job that remains of the season. Whether they add picks for this draft, or prospects, there will be too many expectations on the new kid to perform where the other ones haven't. Step by step, they keep adding to the team with no change in outcomes.
Where we used to be interested in the Oilers for the fate of David Perron, we're now left with watching them skate with Derek Roy and Nikita Nikitin . Actually, it's only Roy right now, as Nikitin is out with a shoulder injury. I'm sure Roy is having a fine season and will in no way have family members defending him on twitter. Roy's 13 points (5g, 8a) has definitely demonstrated that he's been a
key player for this Oilers team.
This bad stretch of years for the Oilers has had one positive: some really good blogs and bloggers have come out of this environment. I don't know if there's anywhere else in the league that has a greater disparity between how bad a team performs and how well they are covered. That'll be displayed in the links down below. Aside from the game tonight, the big story is the imminent departure of defenseman Jeff Petry . As the team looks to prepare for the future, the Oilers will either keep and re-sign Petry, or deal him at the deadline (Monday). This could have been his last game as a member of the organization, but management has decided to scratch Petry tonight (note, this is management, not the coach). In his place, they will slot Jordan Oesterle in the pairing with Andrew Ference . Oesterle was playing in OKC for their AHL affiliate until being called up 02/20. Also, Matt Fraser is sitting out in favor of Luke Gazdic, and Nail Yakupov will be returning to the lineup after dealing with a groin injury. Yakupov has only 21 points in 61 games this year, but 8 of them have come in his last 8 games. He's heating up, which is either increasing his trade value, or impressing the front office. Or both, I suppose.
Other injuries for the Oilers include Taylor Hall (Leg), Viktor Fasth (Knee), and Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen) (ouch).
Brian Elliott is in goal for the Blues, and the Oilers will start with Ben Scrivens.
Oilers official Preview (good stuff, well-presented)
GameDay Twitter Feed:
Final Verse: As we edge into Western Canada, we start hitting those late start times. Tonight, the puck drops at 9:00 PM St Louis time, and the GDT should drop shortly before that (honest, I swear!!). The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120AM. Find a way to stay up and watch the game. Until then,