Blues 4 Oilers 0
ST. LOUIS — T.J. Oshie and his Blues teammates feel as though there’s still something left to play for, even if they’ll miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
“Pride. Playing for the guys next to you,” Oshie said. “Obviously, a huge part of it is playing for the fans that have supported us all year, even in our darkest hours when we weren’t playing very good there. … We’ll play for them and from here on out and the guys sitting next to us.”
Oshie and the Blues came into Thursday night’s game 12 points out of eighth place in the Western Conference with only nine games remaining.
It was a matchup of conference foes who are well out of the playoff picture, with the Blues winning for only the second time in six games (2-4) while extending the Oilers’ winless streak to eight (0-6-2).
Jaroslav Halak needed to make only 12 saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season and Oshie had a goal and an assist in the Blues’ 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Matt D’Agostini, Chris Stewart and Adam Cracknell scored third-period goals for the Blues, who avoided falling below .500 for the first time this season.
“It was a game that could have really gone either way in those first two periods,” Blues coach Davis Payne said. “We didn’t play our kind of hockey for the first two periods. Good thing we did in the third.”
Nikolai Khabibulin took the loss for the Oilers, who have scored only seven goals during their skid. Edmonton’s shots total matched a season low and the Oilers didn’t register a shot in the third period until there was 1:08 remaining in the game.
“It’s real disappointing,” Oilers defenceman Jim Vandermeer said. “But I think if we stick to the game plan by taking pucks to the net and get traffic there, it doesn’t matter who we have in the lineup and who we play with and who we play against. To do that consistently, you’re going to get opportunities.”
Edmonton went 28:34 between shots in the second and third periods.
“It’s frustrating, obviously,” Oilers winger Jordan Eberle said. “We’ve got some guys out that help us with offence but collectively as a group, we should be able to put the puck in the net. I think it comes down to getting the puck to the net first off and getting second opportunities.”
Oshie snapped a scoreless stalemate with 1:32 left in the second period with a wrist shot from the low right circle, beating Khabibulin high on the short side to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
“I figured (Khabibulin) would be leaning,” Oshie said. “Not a high percentage shot, but it went in. I’ll definitely take it.”
D’Agostini extended the lead 2:12 into the third period by snapping a shot that squirted between Khabibulin’s pads from the low left circle.
Stewart added his 10th goal with the Blues and 23rd overall since coming from Colorado in a trade on Feb. 19 by finishing off Oshie’s feed from the slot 8:30 into the third period.
Cracknell made it 4-0 with a one-time finish of a cross-ice feed from Kevin Shattenkirk with 4:53 remaining.
Although there were no goals scored in the first period, there were three fights that kept the crowd entertained. Cam Janssen and Vandermeer kicked things off in a lengthy bout, followed by Ryan Reaves and Theo Peckham after one second ticked off the clock. Then, B.J. Crombeen and Jean-Francois Jacques completed the fight hat trick near the end of the opening period.
“We were kind of flat to start out the game and they kind of found their game early on,” D’Agostini said. “It was a good job by those guys to step up. It woke us up a little bit.
“Slowly but surely, we got to our game.”
Notes: Blues C Patrik Berglund (lower-body injury) missed his first game of the season. That leaves C David Backes and D’Agostini as the only players to have appeared in all 74 games this season. C T.J. Hensick was recalled from American Hockey League Peoria to replace Berglund. … The Oilers have scored two or fewer goals during this eight-game winless streak. … Oilers D Kurtis Foster (neck) missed the game after being injured Tuesday in Nashville. Foster joined D Ryan Whitney (ankle), LW Taylor Hall (ankle), RW Ales Hemsky (shoulder), C Sam Gagner (hand), C Shawn Horcoff (ankle) and RW Gilbert Brule (concussion) on the injured list. … The Blues are playing without D Barret Jackman (finger), LW Alex Steen (ankle), RW David Perron (concussion) and C Vladimir Sobotka (foot). … The Blues have killed 26 consecutive Oilers power plays dating to the 2008-09 season.