The St. Louis Blues won their sixth game in a row, topping the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
“This was a playoff game and obviously we have a long way to go,” Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom said after the game. “We’ve got to find a way to win these games. There’s going to be many of them this year.
“They’re a good team. It’s a good lesson for us and we’re going to come in here tomorrow and do some hard work and learn.”
The Oilers struck first before the the game was three minutes old. Connor McDavid slid a shot under St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen for a power-play goal. Leon Draisaitl and goaltender Mike Smith earned the assists on the play.
“They’re two of the best players in the league, if not the best, and they’re a hell of a line,” Allen said. “They’re faster than anyone in the league. Obviously McDavid beats anyone wide, even though we’ve got a pretty good D-corps.
“You just have to be aware when he’s on the ice. I thought we did a fairly good job tonight. They got a goal there and set up another one, but that’s why they’re good.”
The Blues responded with a power play of their own three minutes later. St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz deflected Alex Pietrangelo’s point shot past Smith.
“Their power play was really good,” McDavid said. “I thought their whole game was really good. They’re the cup champs.
“They don’t give up much, they play hard and they know what they’re doing.”
Pietrangelo gave the Blues the lead in the second, scoring on another Blues power play. Robert Thomas made it 3-1 with 4:42 left in the second, snapping a shot over Smith’s glove.
“A lot of games, as a team, we haven’t played the best. We just find a way to get it done,” Thomas said.
“They made the plays that counted,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said. “We took two penalties and they capitalized on two. And then on just a poor rush read, that gave them their third one and you’re chasing the game.”
Oilers forward Zack Kassian ended a 13-game goalless drought with 8:58 to go, wristing a shot just inside the post.
The Oilers went on a power play with 2:28 left when Blues forward Brayden Schenn flipped the puck over the glass. Smith went to the bench for an extra attacker with 2:00 left.
However, Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev scored empty-net goals in the final minute to seal it.
“They’re down and they’re going to push. Our guys did a good job,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “They battled and killed off that penalty.
“We did what we had to do to win a game.”
“The good thing is, we’re right in the hunt right now,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We’ve got to get rolling here and keep rolling and finish off this mini-homestand on Friday.”
“We’ve got lots of guys looking for a lot of extra ice time and an extra opportunity, but there’s not much happening,” Tippett said of the Oilers.
The Oilers (10-5-2) will host New Jersey on Friday.
–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Scott Johnston