Edmonton Oilers vs. St. Louis Blues - 12/21/13
St. Louis Blues (23-7-4) at Edmonton Oilers (11-23-3)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm (Rexall Place)
The Line: Edmonton Oilers +134 / St. Louis Blues -147 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: CBC; FS-MW
A full Saturday NHL card includes a match between the St. Louis Blues and the struggling Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
Anyone who follows the NHL knows that the Oilers sit firmly at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Edmonton’s current five game losing streak has landed the club 20 points behind the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. During the aforementioned skid, the Oilers have gone 0-10 on the power play and have been outshot in each game by an average of 13 shots on goal per game, albeit against some of the best teams that the NHL has to offer. Ilya Bryzgalov, who is probable for Saturday’s game, is coming off a performance where he saved 37 of the 39 shots that he faced, only to come up without the offensive support necessary to get the win.
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Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues are living up to expectations this season, mingling amongst the Western Conference elite. St. Louis has a young core that has been able to grow together over the past few seasons, and now we are witnessing a team with the talent to string together numerous wins during any stretch of the season. After signing a three-year deal with the Blues, Alexander Steen led the Blues to a victory with his 23rd and 24th goals of the season, which places him second in the league in goals. The Blues have a few familiar faces that will be unable to go for Saturday’s game, namely David Backes, but role players such as Jaden Schwartz have filled in nicely on the offensive end. The Blues have also been fortunate enough to be backed by great goaltending. Brian Elliott, who is confirmed for Saturday, has a 2.21 GAA this season, which ranks 9th among all goaltenders in the NHL.
I look for Dallas Eakins to rally the troops at home, but the question remains whether Edmonton’s best effort right now is enough to overcome one of the league’s powerhouse teams. I think that the Oilers will put an emphasis on executing during the power play; however, the Blues rank 8th in the league on the penalty kill at 85% and have killed off 19 out of the last 20 power plays. St. Louis is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings between the two teams and 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Edmonton. While I think the Blues get the best effort from the home dog here, Edmonton simply can’t hang with a St. Louis team that is firing on all cylinders.