NHL Game Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. St. Louis Blues | 02/28/2024

By BVM Sportsdesk

I suppose Oilers fans feel slightly better now after Monday night’s win. It was especially a good bounce-back game for Stuart Skinner, who’d been struggling throughout all of February to make saves. I still fear he might experience the same burnout that he had last year. Here’s hoping he can get back to the outstanding play he showed in January. I wasn’t a fan of seeing Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Zach Hyman all on one line. It wasn’t the first time this month we’ve had a McDrai line, and that reeks of Dave Tippett and Jay Woodcroft looking desperate with the line-up. Yes, they had a big game in terms of points, but putting all the eggs in one basket has been a long-time flaw of this team. Good on Mattias Ekholm to defend Evan Bouchard when asked about his mistake leading to the second L.A. goal. Even the best players make mistakes from time to time, but they still bounce back. Bouchard is the sort of defenseman that Edmonton has craved since Chris Pronger in 2006, but it astounds me how many fans take issue with him being an Oiler. This is a much different version of Bouchard than the one we saw when the season started.

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The cheers got louder inside Rogers Place when the Kings had an empty net, and Connor Brown had the puck for a brief moment. He did make a pretty good pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to help score the insurance marker late in the third period.

Tonight is the last game of Edmonton’s five game homestand. They’ll have a back-to-back this weekend. First on the road and then back at home before starting a road trip. This homestand didn’t start with the best results for the Oilers. Let’s see if they can end it on a higher note. The keys to the game are…

Stay Disciplined: The last meeting between these teams was just two weeks ago. The Oilers took eight minor penalties in that game, two of them at the same time, and it resulted in a four-minute powerplay for the Blues. It bears repeating that Edmonton’s penalty kill has slumped a ton since the All-Star break. Vincent Desharnais was guilty of a bad penalty or two against St. Louis, and Draisaitl took a bad one against Calgary a few nights ago.

The Other Team’s Booch: The Oilers are rumored to have interest in Blues forward Pavel Buchnevich nearing the Trade Deadline. He has 23 goals and 24 assists for 46 points this season; two of his points were in the last meeting.

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Opponent’s Back-To-Back Travel: The Blues played in Winnipeg last night. Not surprisingly, they played their backup, so Jordan Binnington would get the start tonight against the team with the best player in the league. The Oilers need to attack a jetlagged group as much as they possibly can without relenting. Make it hard for them to to keep up defending and force Binnington to stand on his head.

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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