The Blues have an NHL best 15-3-2 record in their home arena, while the Oilers need to recapture some of that early season magic.
The Edmonton Oilers began the season on a holy tear, led by goaltender Nikolai Khabbibulin. As of late, though? Not good times for the team powered by youth. Ryan-Nugent Hopkins is still in Edmonton with a bum left shoulder, and it's probably no coincidence that the team's 2-8-0 in their last ten games. Tonight isn't going to be any easier for them.
The Blues have the best record in the league at home with fifteen wins in twenty tries. Both starting goaltenders - Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott - have some of the best numbers in the league since Ken Hitchcock has taken over. And, on top of that, the scoring against teams with iffy defenses is picking up, as evidenced by the Blues' four goals against the Phoenix Coyotes. Heck, maybe even the two goals Chris Stewart had Tuesday night is a sign of what's to come.
Whatever the reasoning behind the Blues' success, with ten of their next twelve at home, they need to win. They're just two points behind the Red Wings, and three off of the Central Division leading Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers are giving them a great start tonight by starting backup Devan Dubnyk. He does not do well against the Blues - has never beaten them, in fact - and has a GAA well over 4.00 when playing St. Louis.
"We're going to have to use our speed, that will be key for us."
Who said this? Was it Taylor Hall? Jordan Eberle? No. It was Andy Sutton. When you have someone with the mobility of a traffic pylon trying to espouse how speed helps you win, your team might have an issue. And besides, as the Blues have learned, speed takes you only so far - it's the defense and goaltending that get you games (unless you're playing the Nashville Predators).