NHL: Connor McDavid aims to get Oilers back on track vs. Blues

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After rolling off 16 consecutive victories, the Edmonton Oilers finally cooled off while going 4-5-1 during a 10-game span.

Coming off a victory in its last outing, Edmonton hopes to continue its turnaround on Wednesday night when it hosts the St. Louis Blues.

The Oilers were patient with the puck against the Los Angeles Kings’ trapping defense and skated away with a 4-2 win on Monday.

“I definitely think it was a good time for a game like this, just to simplify our game and not turn the puck over,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We’ve been talking a lot about simplifying our game, and tonight we had to do it, and I thought we did a good job.”

Edmonton defenseman Mattias Ekholm said the team didn’t try to force passes.

“I thought were patient,” he said. “I thought we played really poised when we had to. I thought we played good defense. … And I thought for the 60-minute game, and we haven’t had too many of them as of late.”

Oilers superstar captain Connor McDavid has 20 assists during his eight-game point streak. Fellow forward Zach Hyman has scored six times during a five-game goal streak.

St. Louis has followed a 7-1-0 run by going 2-5-0 over its last seven games.

“We fought it a little bit here lately,” Blues interim coach Drew Bannister said. “Where we had success, we had good details in our game, our habits were good, we were playing direct hockey, we’re playing behind teams. We got away from that.”

The Blues enter Wednesday’s game after falling to the Jets 4-2 Tuesday night in Winnipeg. Despite their slump, the Blues remain just six points behind the Nashville Predators for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

“The excitement level should be high because we’re playing meaningful games,” Bannister said. “Good teams and good hockey players want to be a part of these.”

St. Louis’ Pavel Buchnevich has six goals in his last six games. Robert Thomas has two goals and 12 assists in his last nine games.

Joel Hofer started for Blues in net Tuesday against the Jets, so Jordan Binnington (20-16-2, 2.93 goals-against average, .909 save percentage) likely will get the nod against the Oilers. Binnington made 35 saves on Feb. 15 to help the Blues record a 6-3 win over the Oilers in St. Louis.

Thomas and Jake Neighbours each had a goal and two assists in that victory for the Blues. McDavid had three assists for the Oilers.

Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner is 12-4-1 in 17 games during the new calendar year. But he has allowed four or more goals in four of his last six starts, including five on 29 shots vs. the Blues.

The Blues saw the return of Justin Faulk from his lower-body injury Tuesday. He had been sidelined since Jan. 23. Fellow defenseman Matt Kessel was returned to Springfield of the American Hockey League in a corresponding move.

“Excited to have him back,” Bannister said. “It’s a big piece for us, it’s a good player for us. We missed him, obviously, so it’ll be nice to get him back into the lineup and back playing healthy hockey and good hockey for us.”

–Field Level Media

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