Blues-Oilers Preview

The Associated Press

The St. Louis Blues have used strong starts to help capture the first three games of their six-game trip.

They'll try for their first four-game road win streak in nearly three years Wednesday night when they meet the Edmonton Oilers.

St. Louis (39-17-7) is in a tight race with Vancouver and Detroit for the Western Conference's best record. The Blues have been opportunistic on this trip, building a lead after one period each time en route to three victories.

After winning shootouts in Nashville and Winnipeg, St. Louis got two goals from Jason Arnott and 20 saves from Jaroslav Halak in Monday's 3-1 victory over Calgary. Arnott, who spent his first four full seasons with Edmonton from 1993-97, now has four points in four games.

"He's a guy that's obviously been through the motions, he's been in the playoffs, he's won a (Stanley) Cup, he knows what it takes and this time of year, you need guys like that," right wing David Backes said.

The Blues, just 13-13-3 away from home this season, are in position for their first four-game road win streak since Feb. 19-March 6, 2009. They remain without Jamie Langenbrunner (broken left foot), Matt D'Agostini (concussion), Alex Steen (concussion) and Kris Russell (concussion-like symptoms).

"We've got great chemistry in here ... and we've got some key guys out for us right now that are going to help us down the stretch and in the playoffs," Arnott said.

St. Louis has won two of three against Edmonton (25-31-6) this season, with the home team winning each time. Halak has started all three games, posting a 2.35 goals-against average and recording his second shutout in his last four starts against the Oilers in a 1-0 win in the most recent meeting Jan. 19.

Halak has a 1.58 GAA in starting the first three games of this trip. He is 0-1-1 with a 3.03 GAA in two starts at Rexall Place, where Brian Elliott has a 1.95 GAA in winning all three of his outings.

The Oilers have won three of four following Monday's 5-3 victory at Winnipeg. They scored four straight goals after entering the third period down by one.

"I like the way we handled the game in general," coach Tom Renney said. "It was a bit of a track meet at times, naturally. Certainly being able to come out and really go to work in the third period was important to us."

The wild game was scoreless before the teams combined for three goals in the final 4:15 of the second period. The Oilers responded by scoring twice in the first 2:29 of the third to take control.

Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist, giving him six points during a four-game run, and veteran winger Ryan Smyth notched his 800th point by assisting on Jordan Eberle's team-high 28th goal in the third.

"Good for Ryan," Renney said. "He's certainly been a heart and soul guy in this organization, and his second go-around makes you feel like he'd never left. And I know he's very much appreciated by the whole organization."

Devan Dubnyk has a 4.67 GAA in losing all five career starts against St. Louis, so Edmonton may turn to Nikolai Khabibulin, who said he's ready to return from a groin injury after sitting out the last four games. Khabibulin's 21 wins over the Blues are his second-highest total against any team, but he is 1-8-2 with a 3.86 GAA since Christmas.

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