EDMONTON – A pair of new additions to the Blues lineup are paying off big time for St. Louis.
Recent call-up Ben Bishop stopped 39 shots to record his first career shutout and Chris Stewart, recently arrived through a trade, had a pair of goals in a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
“To get your first shutout, that’s something you always dream about,”Bishop said.“I was able to see a lot of pucks and there were some key blocked shots. The guys did a great job in front of me.
“We needed the win too.”
Bishop was starting for injured goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who missed his fifth straight game with a bruised hand.
“He made a great statement tonight,”said Blues head coach Davis Payne.“He had to make some tough saves early. He was very solid. We were able to rely on him for a little bit until we were able to build the lead a little further.
“He’s a young guy that we expect a lot from now and in the future. It was another great step for him tonight.”
Payne has also been impressed with Stewart since his arrival via trade from Colorado. The forward notched his third two-goal game in the five games since coming to St. Louis.
“This is why we got him,”he said.“He can score in a number of different ways and he showed a couple tonight.”
Patrik Berglund, Matt D’Agostini and Roman Polak also scored for the Blues (28-24-9), who snapped a two-game losing skid and have won four of their last six games.
The Oilers (20-34-8) have lost two of their last three and remain in last place in the NHL.
“Vanilla,”Oilers head coach Tom Renney described his team’s effort on the night.“There needed to be more passion and emotion and contact. We needed to drag ourselves into the game and we had a hard time doing that.
“It was a puzzling game. They scored on their opportunities and we kind of let them walk in and do that. And we couldn’t capitalize on ours.”
It didn’t take long for the Blues to get on the board, scoring just over two minutes into the contest as Stewart walked in unopposed to lift a big rebound past Oilers starter Devan Dubnyk.
Oiler Ales Hemsky clipped Barrret Jackman in the face with a high stick for a double minor late in the first and the Blues took advantage. Just as the first penalty to Hemsky expired, Berglund redirected an Alexander Steen shot into Edmonton’s net.
The Blues went up 3-0 on Stewart’s second of the game on the power play five minutes into the second as his shot trickled through Dubnyk’s pads.
St. Louis had a good chance to make it a four-goal game with five minutes left in the second. Polak was sent in on a clean breakaway but couldn’t slip the puck past Dubnyk.
Bishop continued to keep Edmonton off the board, making a big glove save on a shorthanded 2-on-1 shot by Ryan Jones early in the third.
Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff left the game with six minutes remaining after being hit by a hard shot from teammate Kurtis Foster.
The Oilers broke down near the end of the game allowing a goal by Polak with four minutes left and another by D’Agostini with two minutes left.
“It was a good team effort all the way around,”Stewart said.“Bishop deserved the shutout and we had scoring from all four lines. It was a great team win.”
Both teams are back on the ice on Saturday as Edmonton hosts the Boston Bruins while the Blues travel to Calgary to face the Flames.
Notes: It was the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Edmonton won the first match at home in December 2-1 then fell 5-3 in St. Louis two months later. … Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was not in the lineup for Edmonton and is expected to be out a few days after getting an ice chip in the eye which has caused some bleeding. Martin Gerber was rushed in from Oklahoma City to serve as the backup for the game.…Also missing from the St. Louis lineup was defenceman Nikita Nikitin after he suffered a lower body injury in the first period against Vancouver on Thursday…The Blues have now scored at least one power play goal in each of their last eight games, the first time they have done that since 2005…St. Louis is currently on a stretch that sees the team play seven games in 10 nights.