The St. Louis Blues stumbled into the All-Star break. Some extra time off could help them find their footing as their season finally resumes.
After winning five straight to finish December, St. Louis (22-20-7) went 2-8-2 last month, falling 4-1 at Calgary on Jan. 26 in its last game.
The Blues were supposed to return to the ice Tuesday, but their home game against Colorado was postponed until Feb. 22 due to severe weather conditions.
McDonald’s condition has improved after missing the last 24 games due to a concussion suffered Dec. 4. The Blues’ leading scorer last season with 57 points came off injured reserve Wednesday.
“It’s kind of been a grind coming back and trying to get back in shape and work on timing, but I’m really looking forward to Friday and hopefully we can get a win,” he said.
Eberle, who has nine goals and 14 assists, has been sidelined since Jan. 1 with a left ankle injury. He could rejoin an Edmonton club that opens a three-game trip with four wins in its last 22 games.
The Oilers returned from the break Wednesday and fell 3-1 to Los Angeles as Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) lost his 12th consecutive start. Coach Tom Renney, though, seems to have no reservations about staying with the veteran as his No. 1 goaltender.
“He wants to get off the (losing streak) and I’ll continue to give him the opportunity to do so,” Renney said.
Facing the Blues could be exactly what Khabibulin needs to get back on track. He made 31 saves Dec. 4 and has gone 13-4-2 with a 2.17 goals-against average in his last 19 starts versus St. Louis.
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak(notes) also has something to prove as play resumes after yielding four goals in each of his last three starts - all losses. He turned away 24 shots against Edmonton in December but surrendered a goal to Taylor Hall(notes) 23 seconds into the extra period.
Hall and Dustin Penner(notes), who each have a team-best 16 goals, need to be more productive on the power play for the Oilers. Edmonton has a conference-low 123 goals and has gone 3 for 63 with the man advantage over the last 17 games.
St. Louis hasn’t been much better on the power play, converting on five of 53 opportunities in its last 19.
The Blues snapped a five-game home skid to the Oilers in their last matchup at the Scottrade Center, winning 2-1 on March 28.