Game Report: Oilers 3, Blues 1

By Nicholas Hand

The Oilers spoiled Nail Yakupov’s return to Edmonton Thursday night, getting two goals in the third period to hand the Blues their first loss in regulation this season.

Milan Lucic scored the game-winning goal just 36 seconds into the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie. Cam Talbot made 34 saves to seal the victory for Edmonton.

A fast paced first period saw a combined 20 shots on goal fail to generate a goal.

The Blues took a 1-0 lead at 3:37 into the second period on Yakupov’s second goal of the season to highlight his first game in Edmonton since being traded to the Blues in the preseason.

Yakupov was parked at the front of the net as Joel Edmundson found his stick on a pass after Edmundson recovered the rebound on his initial shot and skated behind the net while dishing the puck to the goal mouth.

The Oilers evened the score less than three minutes later on Tyler Pitlick’s third goal of the season on a tremendous deflection past Jake Allen from a Andrej Sekera shot from the point that was going wide of the net.

The Blues challenged the goal claiming goaltender interference due to Pitlick making contact with Allen but the goal stood video review after replay showed that Pitlick’s contact with Allen came after the deflection and Allen leaned into Pitlick’s skating lane during the deflection.

Edmonton struck early in the third period on Lucic’s second of the season on a rush with Connor McDavid, who earned the primary assist on the goal for a 2-1 Oilers lead.

The Oilers came close to extending the lead to two goals on three separate occasions but Allen stood tall to the task, turning Edmonton aside on three odd-man rushes within a five minute span.

The Blues nearly had the equalizer after Allen’s goaltending display as Yakupov’s speed created a partial break behind three Oilers defenders. Yakupov deked Talbot, who attempted an unsuccessful poke check, but he hit the post on the backhanded attempt past Talbot.

The Blues pulled Allen with over a minute remaining but McDavid intercepted a blind pass by Vladimir Tarasenko and scored an empty net goal for the game’s final goal.

Of Note:
The Blues placed center Jori Lehtera on injured reserve because of an upper-body injury that is believed to be a concussion… Jaden Schwartz made his season debut after missing the first four games with an elbow injury sustained during a preseason practice… Kyle Brodziak returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday night’s contest with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson remains day-to-day with an upper body injury… The Blues outshot the Oilers 35-23 in the contest.

Between the Pipes:
Talbot was excellent for the Oilers making 34 saves. Allen suffered a hard luck loss with 21 saves, including several big saves in the third period, to keep the Blues alive as his record fell to 2-1-1 on the season.

Looking Ahead
: The Blues finish their three-game western Canada road trip on Saturday night in Calgary against the Flames. It will mark the first meeting between the clubs since goatlender Brian Elliott was traded to Calgary at the NHL Draft in June and Troy Brouwer signed with the Flames in free agency.