The St. Louis Blues are looking very much like the team that marched to a Stanley Cup championship last season.
Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and two assists as the Blues maintained their hold on first in the NHL’s Western Conference with a 5-2 victory over the second-place Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
Jaden Schwartz, Robert Thomas, Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev also scored for the Blues (11-3-3), who are on a six-game winning streak.
“We just find a way to get it done,” said Thomas, whose team had won its previous three outings in overtime. “We’re winning a lot of 2-1, 3-2 games and close games at the end. I think that shows our character and being able fight until the end and get some wins.”
Blues goalie Jake Allen made 32 saves to improve to 3-1 on the season.
“I’ve felt like I’ve been getting better every game to be honest than at the start of the year,” he said. “I felt a lot more comfortable and it felt good to get a lot of action and obviously it was good to get the win and the guys battled hard.”
Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian responded for the Oilers (10-5-2), who have lost two in a row.
“This was a lesson for us,” said Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom. “This was a playoff game and obviously we have a long way to go. We have to find a way to win these games because there are going to be many of them this year.
“We’re going to play a lot of good teams and we have to be ready. They played last night, we gave them a little bit too much and it cost us.”
Leon Draisaitl extended his point streak to seven games with a feed to McDavid, who tucked his eighth goal of the season through Allen’s legs to open scoring on a power play 2:46 into the game.
St. Louis responded with a power-play goal of its own less than four minutes later when Schwartz tipped a Pietrangelo point shot past Oilers starter Mike Smith. He finished with 20 saves.
Pietrangelo’s long-range bomb beat Smith 7:10 into the second period on another power play. Ryan O’Reilly’s deft pass to Pietrangelo set up the goal and the 2-1 lead for the Blues.
St. Louis added to its lead with 4:42 remaining in the second as Thomas beat Smith glove side for his third of the year.
Draisaitl picked up another assist with nine minutes left to play when he sent a long feed to Kassian, who picked the top corner.
Bozak’s short-handed empty-net goal went into the net on a lucky bounce before Barbashev added another short-handed empty-netter.
The Oilers wrap up a three-game homestand on Friday against the New Jersey Devils. The Blues wrap up a four-game trip in Calgary on Saturday It was the first of three games between the two teams. They will meet on Dec. 18 in St. Louis and then wrap up the season series back at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Jan. 31 Despite their successes thus far this season, the Blues and the Oilers have been getting very few shots on net, coming into the game ranked 28th and 29th respectively in shots per game.