NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 17th (All times eastern)
St. Louis Blues (32-29-8) at Edmonton Oilers (32-27-9), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A recent surge has the St. Louis Blues right back in the playoff mix, while the Edmonton Oilers have been playing themselves out of the race as of late. The two postseason contenders face off in a key clash tonight at Rexall Place, where the Blues will be trying to reverse their fortunes in this series.
St. Louis has closed within two points of eighth-seeded Dallas in the Western Conference standings by winning three times during a four-game homestand over the past week. The team's latest triumph came at the expense of the fading Minnesota Wild on Sunday, when Brad Boyes posted a goal and an assist to lead the Blues to a 5-3 decision.
Chris Mason needed to make just 19 saves in the win, St. Louis' seventh in its last 10 contests.
The Oilers are headed in the opposite direction at the moment, having dropped three consecutive outings and registering five losses over their first six games of March. The swoon has dropped Edmonton into ninth place in the West, one point behind Dallas and one ahead of the Blues and Minnesota.
Edmonton has managed to earn a point in each of its last three setbacks, however, and continued that trend with Saturday's overtime defeat to visiting Colorado. John-Michael Liles scored 42 seconds into the extra session to lift the Avalanche to a 3-2 win.
Robert Nilsson and Sheldon Souray each had goals for the Oilers, with goaltender Dwayne Roloson stopping 27-of-30 shots in his club-record 24th straight start between the pipes.
Edmonton has now lost three consecutive overtime games, having started the streak with a 4-3 defeat at Montreal on March 10 and falling at home to Atlanta by the same score on Thursday.
The Oilers will try to bounce back against a St. Louis squad they own six straight victories over, three of which have come this season. The games have usually been competitive, however, with four of those matchups decided in overtime or by a shootout.
Roloson has started all three previous encounters between these teams in 2008-09 and produced an excellent 1.30 goals against average and .953 save percentage during that stretch.
Tonight's tilt begins a challenging three-game road trip for the Blues through Western Canada, with the team also visiting red-hot Vancouver and Northwest Division leader Calgary on the swing. St. Louis is 13-16-3 as the visitor on the season, but has won three of its last four road tests.
03/17 10:58:07 ET