Blues 4, Oilers 2
ST. LOUIS — Unlike the previous game, the first period set the tone for the St. Louis Blues. They could afford to coast a little bit and still win their fifth in a row.
“We had a really good start,” forward Jori Lehtera said after a 4-2 victory over the lowly Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. “After that we played a bit lazy, but we got the points.”
Coach Ken Hitchcock tied Pat Quinn, who died in November, for fifth on the career wins list and is 684-418-88.
“He was a real good friend. … It kind of means you’re just old, I don’t know,” Hitchcock said. “That one caught me off-guard. I’ll think of that one tomorrow.”
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 24th goal and had an assist, defenceman Barret Jackman earned his second two-point night of the season. The Blues led 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 early in the second; they trailed 3-1 in the first period Saturday in a 5-4 shootout victory over Carolina.
“When we get our feet moving and play a North game, we’re a much better overall team,” Jackman said. “And a lot harder to defend.”
Benoit Pouliot scored twice in the third period for Edmonton, but the Oilers mustered a season-low 15 shots and never got closer than a two-goal deficit.
“Everyone is down on themselves, everyone is in a bad mood,” Pouliot said. “There’s not a lot of positives but we try to find a way to be positive and we’ve just got to battle.”
David Backes also had a goal and assist while Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen had goals for St. Louis, which allowed just 15 shots — a season best — to make it somewhat easy on goalie Jake Allen.
They’d twice surrendered 16 shots, including an overtime victory over Edmonton in November at home.
Hitchcock warned that tougher times are ahead, with Detroit, Toronto and Colorado concluding a seven-game home stand.
“Now, we’re going to get really challenged, but we’re really controlling the game a lot better,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve got more of a team concept, team game going right now.
“If we can get our special teams both up and running, I like our chances.”
Ben Scrivens made 25 saves but fell to 0-5-5 on the road for Edmonton, which is 0-7-6 during a 13-game road losing streak. The Oilers are last overall in the NHL with a league-low two road victories.
“We’ve had those struggles at home, too,” Scrivens said. “We’re struggling in almost every building we’re playing in, and it’s a frustrating thing to be going through.
“There’s no magic cure, it’s habits and hard work and we’re lacking on both of those things, I think.”
Allen made his first start in eight games but was coming off a strong relief effort Saturday after a shaky outing by Brian Elliott.
“You never want to be in that position, and guys came out of the gate flying,” Allen said. “We didn’t give them much.”
Tarasenko and Backes scored on consecutive shots late in the first period to put St. Louis up 2-0. Scrivens got most of the puck on Tarasenko’s shot from the circle, but it slid under a pad with 6:11 left, and Backes converted a backhand set-up from Lehtera about 2 minutes later. Schwartz deflected a point shot from Jackman for a 3-0 bulge early in the third. Scrivens had the shot covered but the puck slid in just inside the opposite post. Pouliot has a three-game goal streak and has eight goals in 26 games overall for Edmonton. Steen scored his 13th goal late in the third for his 400th career point.
NOTES: Jackman’s first assist was the 150th of his career in 766 games, a franchise record for a defenceman. … The Blues are 15-1-2 leading after two periods and the Oilers are 0-21-2 when trailing after two periods. …
St. Louis also allowed 16 shots against Colorado Dec. 29. … Edmonton has a pair of 16-shot games.