The Edmonton Oilers have been looking at some early season success in the 2016-17 season. With a 3-1-0 start to the season, the Oilers have gotten off to a nice start. However, this isn’t a playoff series, they aren’t one win away from winning a series and advancing. There really isn’t any concrete way to decipher if the Oilers are going to play above the .500 mark throughout the year. It could be addition by subtraction for them this season. The Oilers parted ways with bust Nail Yakupov and Taylor Hall. Yakupov just didn’t pan out in Edmonton the way he was supposed to and I said it before with Hall, he was playing like a guy who didn’t want to be there. Perhaps a change of scenery is needed for the both of them. Hall just scored 2 goals in a 2-1 win for the Devils the other night. Yakupov is going to get a shot at his former team quickly in the season, as he will be suiting up for the St. Louis Blues tonight in Edmonton.
Yakupov has a goal and an assist with the Blues after four games, a nice start for the embattled winger who is desperately trying to dump the bust moniker. It must have felt nice for Yakupov to get the first goal out of the way quickly. I am sure he would like nothing more than to put up one on the Oilers tonight. He says there are no hard feelings with the Oilers and the city. I mean, what do you want him to say? And how can you blame for the Oilers for giving up on home. It was probably best for both sides to move on with their lives. The Blues have started the season off with a record of 3-0-1.
No surprise there from a team who has played some of the best regular season hockey in the NHL, but have been unable to get over the playoff hump. They nearly did it a year ago, but ultimately fell to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final. The Blues defeated the Blackhawks and Stars to reach the Sharks, so they looked like a team ready to hoist the Stanley Cup before the Sharks put a stopgap between them and the trophy. Ken Hitchcock is in his last season behind the Blue’s bench as head coach, and for any other team for that matter as it appears he will be retiring. We’ll see if Hitchcock ends on a high note
The Blues are without Brian Elliott between the pipes in St. Louis, giving way to Jake Allen for the fulltime job. Elliott has been struggling mightily with the Flames, so it just shows you how important a good defence can be to have in front of you. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes for him, but he has failed to help the Flames out in any way. It’ll be a sizable blow to their on ice product and wallet if he isn’t able to come around. But maybe it will be a lesson for the Flames that they need to address their defensive concerns, too.
Jake Allen shared the starting role with Elliott the last two seasons and he did considerably well, posting a GAA of 2.35 last year and a 2.28 in 2014-15. He’s started off well with a 1.98 GAA, the first season Allen has been the clear starter. The Blues have allowed no more than 2 goals per game this season. In fact, the Blues have surrendered 2 goals in each matchup. The Oilers haven’t had many problems scoring the puck, scoring 4.25 per game. However, they have predictably failed to produce defensively. The Hurricanes were the first team they held to less than 3 goals, allowing an average of 3.75 goals per game. I think the Blues are being undervalued in this game due to the decent start by the Oilers. I see them as bigger favorites. It’s all good with me, because I’m going to try and take advantage of the cheap price against the Oilers. Motivation and a west coast road trip could be the only variables that set them back, but I think they get the job done here.
PICK: BLUES TO WIN -120