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Oilers' winless streak now sits at 12 games after 2-1 loss to Blues

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

EDMONTON - The Oilers' winless streak has reached a dirty dozen.

Eric Brewer and Alex Steen scored for St. Louis as the Blues beat Edmonton 2-1 on Thursday night, extending the Oilers' winless streak to 12 games.

Dustin Penner replied for the Edmonton, which is now winless in 19 of its last 20 games and is approaching a franchise-record winless streak of 14 games set in 1993. That team had 13 losses and one tie from Oct. 16-Nov. 7.

"Nobody here wants to lose," said Edmonton goaltender Jeff Deslauriers. "I don't care if it is two in a row, or three in a row, or four in a row, much less this."

Edmonton (16-30-6) sits in last place in the NHL, five points behind Carolina, and has won just one of its last 16 at home.

St. Louis (24-22-8) upped its impressive road record to 15-8-4 on the season.

Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said the fact that St. Louis scored the winner on its only shot of the third summed up Edmonton's winless stretch.

"The team played hard tonight and did a lot of good things," he said. "We only give up that one shot and it happens to be a goal. It's those types of situations that have prolonged this. There isn't a soul in our room that doesn't hate this.

"You'd almost think the odds would eventually work in your favour."

Blues goalie Chris Mason finished with 24 saves and said he was glad his team was able to ride out a rough third.

"It was a tough game for us," he said. "We didn't play as well as we liked but we stuck with it and we were lucky enough to keep them off the scoreboard in the third period."

Brewer added that any win is important for St. Louis, with the Blues trying to climb into the Western Conference playoff picture.

"We desperately need wins right now," he said. "We are in a long drive here. We've made up a little ground but it seems like everybody is winning games. You have to get points every night if you want to make up any ground. All we were concerned with was getting the two points.

A scoreless first period saw few quality chances, with the only real opportunity coming on Lubomir Visnovsky's point shot on an Edmonton power play that rang off the post.

The Oilers got on the board eight minutes into the second when Robert Nilsson made a pinpoint pass to Penner, who fired a shot off Mason's shoulder.

St. Louis tied it just 17 seconds later as the Blues controlled the play off a faceoff in the Edmonton zone and scored on Brewer's point shot.

"That was a big one for us because it didn't let them build any momentum from that goal," said Brewer. "It was a tight game so to be able to respond and keep them in check made all the difference in the world."

Both teams came close to taking the lead in the late stages of the period. Gilbert Brule had a chance in tight for the Oilers and David Backes sent a shot off the crossbar.

The Blues edged ahead just 2:09 into the third on their only shot of the period as Steen lifted a puck over a sprawling Denis Grebeshkov and past Deslauriers for his 12th of the season.

Edmonton had a great opportunity with the extra attacker in the final minute but Mason stood tall.

Both teams return to the ice on Saturday as the Oilers head to Calgary to face the Flames and the Blues return home to host Columbus.

Notes: The Oilers had two offensive weapons back in the lineup. forwards Brule returned from a seven-game battle with the flu and Mike Comrie came back from a 31-game absence caused by a lengthy bout of mononucleosis. With the pair back in the fold, Patrick O'Sullivan and Zack Stortini were healthy scratches. ... Rookie defenceman Taylor Chorney suited up for Edmonton with Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid still out with concussions. ... Blues defenceman Erik Johnson was a surprise scratch for the Blues, deleted from the lineup with an upper-body injury in the pre-game warm-up. ... Backes played his second game in as many nights after missing the previous three with an upper-body injury. Carlo Colaiacovo (lower-body injury) practised with the Blues on Wednesday and could see action as early as Saturday. ... The Oilers and Blues split their two previous encounters this season with St. Louis dominating the most recent encounter, a 7-2 victory in Edmonton on December 21.


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