Blues-Oilers Preview

The Associated Press

Based on St. Louis' recent success in Edmonton, not to mention the Oilers own the worst record in the Western Conference, it would appear the Blues have a good chance to continue their current surge.

In the midst of their longest road point streak in almost 14 years, the Blues look for a season-high sixth consecutive victory Tuesday night while attempting to shut out the Oilers at Rexall Place for a third straight time.

Off to the franchise's best start, St. Louis (29-7-5) is riding a 7-0-1 stretch and has earned at least a point in 12 of 13 after winning 6-2 over Columbus on Saturday.

"It's something to hang your hat on a little bit, but we can't rest on it," forward David Backes told the Blues' official website after he returned from a three-game injury absence to record two assists Saturday.

"It's a reality check, too, because it says you're only halfway through the season. You haven't accomplished anything. We've got another half-season to go and hopefully an extended playoffs."

After outscoring Los Angeles and the Blue Jackets 11-2 in the last two at home, the Blues try to continue their success over three games through western Canada. St. Louis' current 5-0-2 stretch away from home is its best single-season run without a regulation road defeat since it went 10-0-0 with a tie Jan. 21-March 4, 2000.

St. Louis has won 12 of 15 overall against the Oilers (14-26-5), and won its third straight at Edmonton while posting a second consecutive shutout there with a 6-0 victory Dec. 21. The Blues, who have never blanked the same opponent three straight times on the road, have shut out the Oilers in five of the past 10 matchups overall.

Chris Stewart had three goals with an assist in the last meeting, while Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund scored one apiece and Brian Elliott made 23 saves.

Though Elliott was solid in that contest and is coming off his 13th consecutive home victory, Jaroslav Halak is expected to start Tuesday. He missed four straight games with flu-like symptoms following a 6-5 shootout win over Chicago on Dec. 28 during which he was pulled for allowing three goals on 13 shots.

Halak is 17-6-3 with a 2.40 goals-against average this season. He's 5-0-0 with a 1.25 GAA in his last six games against Edmonton.

Berglund, who has two goals and three assists in his last five at Edmonton, hopes to continue that success while trying to build on Saturday's two-goal effort that came after he was moved from center to left wing.

"I've just been working even harder in practice, shooting more pucks and trying to get it going that way," said Berglund, who has six goals after scoring at least 17 in each of the last three seasons.

Edmonton, meanwhile, hopes to win consecutive home games for the first time since Nov. 19-21 after it snapped a four-game overall losing streak with a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Jordan Eberle scored twice and Taylor Hall added a goal with an assist as the Oilers matched their goal output from the previous three contests.

"We need to spin this into a positive," said forward Boyd Gordon, who has a goal in two straight games. "Hopefully we can get things turned around here and start playing some winning hockey."

Hall has four goals and nine assists in his last nine contests.

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