ST. Avalanche Jerseys China . LOUIS - Vladimir Sobotka needed just a couple shifts to return to top form Thursday night. Back after missed the previous 12 games because of a left knee injury, Sobotka had a goal and two assists to help the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 on Thursday night. "I just kept it simple," Sobotka said after the fifth three-point game of his career. "It was about timing. As the game went along, I got a little faster and a little stronger." St. Louis has won six of seven overall and eight of nine against Edmonton. Alex Pietrangelo started a four-goal third period and Jaden Schwartz added two goals for the Blues, who outscored Edmonton 17-4 in sweeping the three-game season series. Pietrangelo, Schwartz and T.J. Oshie scored in 7:14 span at the outset of the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and Schwartz added his second goal of the period at 12:56. Ryan Miller made 23 saves to improve to 5-0-1 since joining the Blues in a trade with Buffalo on Feb. 28. Hes 7-0 against Edmonton. Sobotka scored late in the first period and then set up the winning goal 42 seconds into the third period. He stole the puck from Andrew Ference in the corner and found Pietrangelo wide open in the slot for a 3-2 lead. "We knew he was going to bring some energy and some bite back into our lineup," Pietrangelo said. "Whether he felt his best or not, it certainly looked like he didnt miss a beat. We kind of needed a little extra jump and he seems to have brought it." Pietrangelo felt he had to capitalize on Sobotkas hard work in the corner "It was a great pass, Id better bury it," Pietrangelo said. Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for St. Louis, and Oshie added two assists. Miller has stopped 134 of 145 shots in six games with St. Louis and has yet to lose in regulation. He has a 1.82 goals-against-average and .924 save percentage with the Blues. David Perron and Mark Fraser scored for Edmonton. Perron spent six seasons in St. Louis and leads the Oilers with 25 goals. Edmonton tied it at 2 late in the second period on Frasers shot from close range. The Blues then took over with a near-perfect third period. "We played with tempo and we played with speed in the neutral zone," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We were really effective. We put a lot of pressure on people." St. Louis outshot Edmonton 14-11 over the final 20 minutes, peppering goalie Ben Scrivens from start to finish. "They capitalized on their scoring chances," Scrivens said. "But I needed to make more saves than I did." The Oilers appeared to have gained the momentum with Frasers tying goal. "I dont care how good they are, we were able to play with them for two periods," Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins said. "We certainly should be able to do it for another 20 more minutes." Notes: St. Louis D Barret Jackman left the game briefly late in the second period after colliding with Jesse Joensuu. Jackman returned for the third period. ...The Oilers have used six goalies this season. ... Ten of the Blues last 13 games have been decided by one goal. ... Edmonton C Sam Gagner had a five-game points streak snapped. ... The Oilers are 7-2-3 in their last 12 games, their best stretch since going 8-3 at the start of the 2011-12 season. ... Oshies two assists give him a career-high 36 this season. Colorado Avalanche Gear . - Jayden Hart scored once and set up two more as the Prince Albert Raiders downed the host Red Deer Rebels 5-3 on Tuesday to clinch the final Western Hockey League playoff berth. Avalanche Jerseys 2021 . PETERSBURG, Fla. TORONTO -- Like it or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs are well-versed in the shootout. And unlike last season, thats actually a good thing for them. On Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre the Leafs made it through three periods and overtime yet again and managed to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 for their league-leading ninth shootout victory of the year. It was Torontos third straight win, and three of their past four overall have come via the shootout. Some how, some way, they keep getting there and have it to thank for a playoff position 49 games in. "I think if our team had a choice, wed try to end the game a bit earlier," said defenceman Morgan Rielly, who scored his first home goal this season. "But I think thats just an aspect of hockey nowadays. It just turns out that were pretty good at them." Only the Washington Capitals have gone to the shootout more times than the Leafs (24-20-5), who have showed a penchant for at least forcing overtime. They have just three regulation victories in their past 28 games, yet are right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race. "Obviously were fortunate this year that our record in the shootout is a real, strong positive for our hockey club," coach Randy Carlyle said. "Theres been a lot of extra points gained by it. If we can continue to find a way to get points, thats what our job is." Whereas the Leafs went 0 for 5 and rued shootouts during last years lockout-shortened 48-game season, they keep getting the job done this season. Against the Sabres on Wednesday night, James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak all scored and goaltender James Reimer stopped one of two attempts. Whether its Reimer or Jonathan Bernier, those shooters have experienced a lot of shootout success, so it has made sense for assistant coach Greg Cronin -- who fills out the lineup -- to keep going back to them. Lupul is six for seven, van Riemsdyk is six for nine and Bozak is three for five. "Think were confident in the guys that we can send out there to score goals and confident in our goalie," van Riemsdyk said. "We seem to have guys that are confident going in with their moves and the goaltenders are confident in the net. It makes it a good matchup in the shootout." The Sabres (13-27-6) dropped to 6-3 in shootouts this season but were thankful to get there thanks to Cody Hodgsons early-third-period, power-play goal and a strong penalty kill in overtime that included a good scoring chance for defenceman Tyler Myers. "That was huge," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said of the penalty kill. "I thought Tyler Myers, his first game back was probably one of his best games all season long. He played with a little pizzazz. He played with some energy, and he was very aggressive." Goaltender Ryan Miller, who could again be the U.S. starter at the Sochi Olympics after leading the Americans to silver in Vancouver, was strong before the shootout in making 36 saves in regulation and overtime. He gave up goals to Olympic teammate Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Rielly. Kessels was a pure goal-scorers goal, a perfect shot that went five-hole on Miller. Custom Colorado Avalanche Jerseys. "He made a nice shot," Miller said. "I didnt see. Good for Phil. Get him going for the Olympics, I guess." In addition to Hodgson, Matt Ellis and Matt Moulson also scored for the Sabres. Moulsons goal at 6:34 of the second wasnt reviewed, though it took several replay angles to show it clearly went in the net. "It went in," Carlyle said. "It hit the webbing on the top. When it hit the bar, it went up and it went into the webbing and then came back down. The angle that the camera had made it difficult to determine if it actually crossed the line because the camera angle was at a bad angle to (see) it. But when you looked at it from where he was shooting it, from behind him, you can see the top of the webbing of the net went up, so that usually indicates its got to be in then net." Just before that, Buffalos Zemgus Girgensons had a quality chance on a second-period penalty shot, which Reimer stopped in what turned out to be more practice for the shootout. Not that Reimer needed it, as he improved to 4-0 in the shootout this season. "Personally Im not a huge fan of shootouts," Reimer said. "Its something I try to practise most days as much as I can. Shootouts are important points, and theyre huge come the end of the year. Obviously regulation wins are most important, but those points are priceless." Theyre especially valuable considering the thin line between the Leafs being in a good position nearing the Olympic break and having to play catch-up in late February, March and April. This was the 16th time Toronto got to at least overtime, which is a boat load of points earned before the game is even over. The Leafs have played 72 minutes and five seconds of overtime, more than an entire extra game. Torontos knack for surviving past the 60-minute mark is hard to explain. "Thats a good question," van Riemsdyk said. "Theres some games where we seem to get a lead and end up losing that lead or games where you battle back and go to the shootout. Its part of the game, and you just come with whats given." So while the Leafs have taken what theyve earned in shootouts, Miller and the Sabres were left to wonder about a point lost. "Unfortunately, I wasnt very good in the shootout," Miller said. "Thats the difference." Being so good in the shootout has made a major difference in the Leafs fortunes this season. "When you win them its a positive, when you lose them its a negative," Carlyle said. "Thats the bottom line. Thats what you play the game to gain points and to win, and a shootout gives you a win." NOTES -- Enforcer Colton Orr returned to Torontos lineup after missing Tuesdays game in Boston with the flu, which has affected several players. Frazer McLaren was scratched to make room for Orr. ... Sabres forward Matt DAgostini left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. DAgostini skated just three shifts for 2:19, and Nolan said he expects him to be out for "a little while." ... This was the fifth and final meeting between the Leafs and Sabres this season. ' ' '
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