Talk about a tale of two cities, as the St.Louis Blues have been firing on all cylinders since opening night, while the Edmonton Oilers have been languishing in bottom-dweller city for the duration of the team’s campaign.
Each squad’s true colors were set on full blast Thursday night, as the Oilers stepped off the plane only to be embarrassed by one of the NHL‘s juggernauts. Leading the attack was another outstanding effort by breakthrough centerman T.J. Oshie, who’s now one point shy of setting a career point mark with the playoff stretch run still to take place.
The 2013-2014 season has brought Oshie full circle, as the once underachieving and inconsistent forward is on the verge of taking the next step into stardom. At least on the ice, as he is already a household name in any American hockey family living room. Since returning from the Olympics, Oshie’s jersey sales rank second, trailing only Sidney Crosby.
Capitalizing on his Team USA Olympic fanfare heading into the playoffs will only set his status into overdrive. Witnessing this clone of Theo Fluery and his one-on-one, four-goal, back-and-forth shootout battle with former NHL star turned New Jersey Devils‘ villain Ilya Kovalchuk was a performance for the ages. Sergei Bobrovsky is still waking up in cold sweats.
As the Blues put the pedal to medal for the club’s last 15 games, Oshie’s seems to be set on cruise control. Teams usually play up to their competition, and the first overall squad could have easily taken the easy road and mailed this matchup in. Instead, the spirit of St.Louis was front and center.
The plus/minus goal differential between these two franchises beforehand was staggering, with the Blues sitting at a crisp +69 (1st overall) and Edmonton at a sinking ship level of -53 (tied for last). At least the benches started chirping when Taylor Hall almost dropped the gloves with Vladimir Tarasenko; a bench brawl would have been something Oilers fans could have actually cheered for.
This game was over before puck-drop.