It has not been a good match-up for the Edmonton Oilers.
The St. Louis Blues have won 16 of the last 19 meetings between the two teams, including two of three last season.
“It’s a team that went to the final four. It’s a team that hasn’t lost a game in regulation yet. It’s a team that is mature and confident,” says Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “They play the same way night after night. They believe that’s the right way to play, and they win most of the time doing it.”
The Blues come to Rogers Place for Thursday night’s game with a record of 3-0-1. The Oilers are 3-1 after jumping out to a 3-0 lead on Tuesday and hanging on to beat Carolina 3-2.
“We have to start holding leads now. We have to start not giving teams any momentum in the third period,” says winger Patrick Maroon. “We tend to back up. We’re not doing what got us the lead, which is getting pucks deep, grinding down low, breaking out clean.”
Cam Talbot will start in goal after becoming the father of twins on Wednesday. Eric Gryba returns to action after being scratched on Tuesday.
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Lucic – McDavid – Eberle
Pouliot – Nugent-Hopkins – Kassian
Maroon – Draisaitl – Slepyshev
Lander – Letestu – Pitlick
Klefbom – Larsson
Sekera – Russell
Nurse – Gryba
– The Oilers won the final meeting of the season last year against the Blues, scoring four power play goals in a 6-4 win at Rexall Place on March 16.
– Nail Yakupov returns to Edmonton after being traded to St. Louis two weeks ago. He has two points in four games with the Blues.
– Jake Allen is expected to start in goal for St. Louis. He’s 2-2 in his career against the Oilers with a 4.29 goals against average and an .839 save percentage.
– The Oilers and Blues are on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30pm and the game starting at 7pm. (jrw)