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Schultz expected to make Oilers' debut as they host Blues

The Sports Network

2/29/2012 4:07:37 PM

(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers, who have three victories in their last four games, are expected to debut their new defencemen Nick Schultz tonight when they play host to the St. Louis Blues.

The Oilers acquired Schultz from Minnesota prior to Monday's trade deadline.

The 29-year-old Schultz is known as a stay-at-home defenseman, something Edmonton has lacked at its back end.

"I just want to come in and be consistent, be steady and be reliable," Schultz said on Tuesday. "It's a long, tough season and you've got to ready to go and perform each and every night and just try to be consistent, bring that work ethic and go out and be reliable for the coaching staff."

Schultz left Minnesota as the club's all-time leader in games played.

Edmonton is playing out the string and picked up a third victory in four games on Monday, logging four goals in the third period of a 5-3 win over hosting Winnipeg.

Lennart Petrell and Taylor Hall both posted a goal and an assist, while Ryan Whitney, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Jones all lit the lamp. Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves.

"I like the way we handled the game," said Edmonton head coach Tom Renney. "But, certainly the way we came out in the third period and handled things was very nice."

Hall has six points over his last four games, while forward Ryan Smyth picked up the 800th point of his career with an assist on Eberle's goal. Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, meanwhile, has logged a point in both games back since missing seven in a row with a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, an excellent start to their six-game road trip has the Blues challenging for not only the top spot in the Central Division, but also for the first seed in the Western Conference.

St. Louis tries to win four straight on the road for the first time in three years as it visits the last-place Oilers.

The Blues have compiled an excellent 26-4-4 record at home this season, but have turned things on as the guest lately too. St. Louis opened its swing with shootout wins over Nashville and Winnipeg before notching a 3-1 win in Calgary on Monday.

Getting on track away from St. Louis will be key for the Blues, who are 13-13-3 on the road this season. They will play three straight as the host following this swing before heading back out on the road for seven in a row.

That trek could decide where the Blues finish the regular season. Monday's win put them in a tie with the Red Wings for first place in the division, but Detroit restored a two-point advantage thanks to last night's win at Columbus. Fourth-seeded St. Louis is also just three points behind Vancouver for the most in the West and NHL.

Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves versus the Flames and was backed by a pair of goals from Jason Arnott. David Backes also scored and Patrik Berglund had two assists to give him seven in his past seven games. St. Louis outshot Calgary 8-3 in the second when it pulled away and will now try to win four in a row on the road for the first time since Feb. 19-March 6, 2009.

"We took a lot of air out of their tires in the second," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said.

St. Louis did suffer a 4-2 defeat in its lone trip to Edmonton so far this season back on Oct. 30. The Blues rebounded with a pair of home wins over the Oilers, getting a 15-save shutout from Halak in the last encounter on Jan. 19, and are 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings overall.