St Louis Blues at Edmonton Oilers Jan. 11, 2009

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St Louis Blues at Edmonton Oilers Jan. 11, 2009

So I was watching the St. Louis Blues play the Edmonton Oilers Sunday night on TSN.

Now, some of you out there are most likely thinking, why would you watch the Oilers, who are 20-18-3, which marks them 11th in the West, play the cellar-dwelling Blues. who are 16-22-3 (15th West)? Edmonton won the game, 2-1.

This was a tight-checking defensive game between two struggling clubs. This game was very evenly matched on the defensive end as both teams shut each other down. On the power play, Edmonton failed to score on five chances, as the Blues failed to score on their five opportunities.

Now as good a defencive game as this was, both power play units for these teams were sloppy and almost pathetic. With five power plays apiece and not one goal to show for it, you may think that the goalies bailed them out on the PK. But that was not the case. The Oilers only managed four shots. The Blues doubled that amount with 8 power-play shots.

The thing that mind-boggles me the most is that when Edmonton was shorthanded they played with more speed and chances. They mounted three odd-man rushes on one of the Blues' power plays, and later on in the second period Gilbert Brule was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway to score the goal that tied the game.

Sam Ganger scored the go-ahead goal with a little over eight minutes to go in the third period to make it 2-1 Oilers. Eric Cole made a beautiful pass across the offencive zone to Ganger, who was about 10 feet above the slot, and he one-timed the shot over the high glove on Manny Legace—the same place the Brule went on his shorthanded breakaway goal.

Some moments in this game that stood out to me are: After Brule scored his shorthanded goal, Legace was shaking his glove in frustration as if he should have saved the shot but from replays I reviewed I could not see how in any way he could have saved that shot. Brule roofed the shot high as Legace was already down early and it looked like the puck was a good portion away from his glove.

Now to some people this may come as a shock when I say Keith Tkachuk stood out to me as one of the best players on the ice. He was using his big frame well in the offencive zone and created many chances for his team and managed to log 17:38 of ice time.

Some of you may think that, yeah, well, this is one game. But this is not because I have watched the Blues play on five different occasions this year and in those five games I have noticed Keith as a standout player on St Louis.

The Oilers, who seem to be turning things around a little bit lately, are 6-4-0 in their last 10 and start a road trip next week beginning in Washington then heading to Minnesota before ending the trip in Colorado. This road swing will be important for the Oil as they face two divisional opponents on the way.

As for the Blues, they continue their road trip as they head to Calgary before they return home to face Colorado and then Chicago.

The leaders in ice time tonight are:

For St Louis

Barret Jackmen 22:55

Roman Polak 22:44

Jeff Woywitka 22:30

David Backes 19:43

Keith Tkachuk 17:38

For Edmonton

Sheldon Souray 25:11

Lubomir Visnoskie 24:46

Shawn Horcoff 22:03

Denis Grebeshkov 20:17

Tom Gilbert 19:37

Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves for the win and his counterpart Legace faced 22 shots for the loss.

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