Published March 13, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The NHL-leading St. Louis Blues will try to bounce back from their first loss of the month when they host the Edmonton Oilers in Thursday's encounter at Scottrade Center.
The Blues had won five straight to begin March before dropping Tuesday's home overtime decision against Dallas. St. Louis hopes to get back on track tonight against an Edmonton team it has dominated in recent years.
With 95 points, the Blues are two points ahead of Anaheim for the top spot in the NHL standings and also hold a four-point edge over Colorado for first place in the Central Division.
The Blues are 2-0 against Edmonton in 2013-14 and they can complete a sweep of the season series on Thursday. St. Louis has won seven of eight and 13 of the last 16 meetings in this matchup, but the Oilers did halt a six-game road skid in the series when it posted a 3-0 win at Scottrade Center on March 26 of last season.
St. Louis forced overtime against the Stars on Tuesday thanks to Roman Polak's goal with 5:01 left in the third period. However, Dallas captain Jamie Benn buried the game winner 3:42 into the extra session to halt the Blues' winning streak.
Alex Pietrangelo also scored for St. Louis, which set a franchise record with at least one point in its 20th consecutive division game, improving to 18-0-2 this season against other teams from the Central.
Ryan Miller made 27 saves in the loss, his first with his new club.
"Our execution could be a little better and mine as well," Miller admitted. "We were in the game tonight. It could have gone either way."
The Blues had a three-game home winning streak snapped, but are still 23-5-4 in the Gateway City this season.
Edmonton, the last-place team in the Western Conference, has done well in its spoiler role lately, winning three of its last four games and posting an 8-3-2 mark over the past 13 outings.
The Oilers opened a four-game road trip on Tuesday with a comeback victory over the Minnesota Wild. Edmonton fell behind 3-0 in the first period, but rallied for a 4-3 shootout win at Xcel Energy Center.
Edmonton's Jeff Petry cut the deficit to 3-1 before the end of the first period. David Perron and Jordan Eberle then tallied over a four-minute span in the third to even things at 3-3.
Taylor Hall delivered the winner in the shootout, scoring in the fourth round to complete the rally for Edmonton. After Jason Pominville was stopped by Viktor Fasth, Hall skated in and shot the puck between the pads of Darcy Kuemper for the winner.
Fasth stopped 28 shots in the win.
"I'm proud of them. It would have been easy to pack it in but the guys kept scraping and clawing," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "They were playing an excellent defensive game but we stuck to it."
Despite Tuesday's win, the Oilers are just 11-19-5 as the road team this season.