Dallas Stars (4-5-1, 9 pts) @ Edmonton Oilers (4-3-2, 10 pts)
9:00 PM CT
Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Goals – 22nd, Goals Against – 11th, Power Play – 3rd, Penalty Kill – 6th
Edmonton comes into this game on a three game losing streak (though two have been in OT/SO) and riding an offense that hasn’t been as prolific as expected. The Oilers have scored two or fewer goals in four straight games and has dropped three of them as a result.
The explosive potential is definitely still there though considering the top-six that they’ll throw out onto the ice. Sam Gagner is, a bit surprisingly, leading the team in points and assists and has been a big weapon for the league’s third best PP. Rookie sensation Nail Yakupov leads the team with five goals and most awesome celebrations.
The usual suspects of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall are both having nice seasons and even Ales Hemsky is scoring timely goals. 21 of the 26 goals scored by the Oilers this season have come from the top-six forwards.
The one guy among the top-six that really hasn’t hit his stride yet is top center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. RNH is still goalless on the season and has just five assists. He’s been getting his shots though so it’s just a matter a time before he gets on the scoreboard. The last thing Dallas needs is for him to get hot right when the get to Edmonton.
The Oilers will probably continue to ride Devan Dubnyk tonight in goal. He’s started all nine of the games this season and has played quite well.
Edmonton has a few injury issues to deal with tonight. Forward Shawn Horcoff broke his hand blocking a shot on Monday night and is going to miss significant time while Eric Belanger (broken toes), Ben Eager (concussion) and Ryan Jones (eye) are all dealing with issues that will keep them out of this game. Defenseman Theo Peckham has a hip problem and probably won’t be playing.
Possible line combos:
Hall – RNH – Eberle
Hemsky – Gagner – Yakupov
Smyth – Lander – Petrell
Paajarvi – Hartikainen – Hordichuk
Whitney – J.Schultz
Petry – Smid
N.Schultz – Potter (unfortunately no Fistric).
Goals – 29th, Goals Against – 10th, Power Play – 26th, Penalty Kill – 11th
The plan for Dallas tonight should be pretty simple. Stay out of the penalty box. That should be the main plan tonight because getting into penalty trouble against the Oilers spells an extra tick in the loss column.
Edmonton has scored a PP goal in all but two games this season (both on the road) and Dallas will get murdered if they have discipline problems. Worrying about the speed of the Oilers should be trouble enough without Edmonton having an extra guy on ice.
Jamie Benn seems to have woken up and the line shuffling of coach Gulutzan finally paid off. Hopefully Dallas can get some offense from Loui Eriksson tonight. He’s been held pointless in the three straight games and hasn’t even registered a shot in those three games.
Kari gets the start tonight and should once again expect to face more shots than Dallas can put on the other side of the ice. The defense will be put into fits tonight so Lehtonen will have to be on top of his game.
Morrow – Benn – Jagr
Eriksson – Roy – Ryder
Vincour – Eakin – Nystrom
Garbutt – Roussel – Smith
Dillon – Robidas
Larsen – Daley
Goligoski – Oleksiak