St. Louis Blues vs. Edmonton Oilers: Game Preview


The St. Louis Blues will face the Edmonton Oilers for the first time this season on Friday night. At 6-14-3, the Oilers are currently the worst team in the Western Conference by a whole six points. Despite their struggles, however, they may have a heightened chance for victory on Friday, as they’ll be facing a Blues team that seemed to be down in the dumps Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators after losing goalie Brian Elliott. The Blues blew a two-goal lead in the third period and went on to lose in a shootout.

It will be an opportunity for the Blues to reacquaint themselves with two former teammates: defenseman Nikita Nikitin, who played in St. Louis during 2010 and 2011 before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and a bit more notably, forward David Perron, who many felt could be the Blues’ next great scorer. Perron was traded for forward Magnus Paajarvi last summer as the Blues faced a cap conundrum, and the 26-year-old, who never had more than 21 goals with the Blues, achieved career highs in goals (28) and points (57) for Edmonton last year, albeit doing it while achieving a career-low plus-minus rating of minus-16. It should be interesting to see if Perron’s effort is turned up on Friday night, as he was somewhat of an enigma during his time in St. Louis.

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Obviously with Elliott’s injury, Jake Allen will be between the pipes against Edmonton on Friday night. 21-year-old Jordan Binnington, who was recalled from the AHL Chicago Wolves on Wednesday morning, will be dressing for his first NHL game, as he’ll serve as Allen’s backup.

The Blues did not practice Thursday and held somewhat of an experimental practice Wednesday, with coach Ken Hitchcock organizing lines based on players’ heritage, i.e. an American line of T.J. Oshie, Paul Stastny, and David Backes, and a Swedish group comprised of Alexander Steen, Patrik Berglund, and a rotation of Joakim Lindstrom and Magnus Paajarvi. Those lines aren’t necessarily an indication of what is to come tonight. Hitchcock may try to see what kind of spark he can get out of Paajarvi, who has been relegated to the press box for much of the season, against his former team.

On the blue line, Jay Bouwmeester is expected to return after missing two games due to a lower-body injury. That would likely return Chris Butler to being a healthy scratch.