Dallas Stars at Edmonton Oilers, Game 64 Breakdown

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Dallas Stars
@ Edmonton Oilers

Friday, Mar 2, 2012, 7:30 PM MST
Rexall Place

Defending Big D

TICKETS

Glen Gulutzan's Dramatic Zone Start Shift - Defending Big D
I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago here, but it's definitely worth a deeper look. Prior to the All Star break they rolled three lines almost regardless of the situation. Everyone on the Stars had zone start percentages under 50% (meaning they took more defensive draws than offensive). The defense was getting exploited with inferior defensive players stuck in the defensive zone. Coincidentally those inferior defensive players are also superior offensive players (Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder), and when they aren't near the net they can't score. Coach Gulutzan has adjusted to this strategic hole. It's a perfect example of what Brandon was talking about here. Despite outward appearances at times he is leading this team. It takes a strong leader to recognize a deficiency then act appropriately to fix the problem. Gulutzan is doing just that. After the jump the dramatic impact the reorganization has had on the entire roster will be shown.

What Is Driving The Stars Winning Streak? - Defending Big D
With Jamie Benn out of the lineup Gulutzan put Wandell, Vincour, and Steve Ott together as a unit. Adam Burish has been impactful lately so he played some minutes with Ott and Wandell too. For the purposes of this we're going to focus on the three primary guys though. What I initially wanted to see was how Gulutzan has been using the forwards during the winning streak. As you can see in the third column, Wandell, Ott, and Vincour have gotten most of the defensive zone draws during the streak. Four out of every five faceoffs Wandell has been on the ice for during the streak have been in the defensive zone. Manny Malhotra weeps.

Stars Expected Lines (courtesy Left Wing Lock)

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Jamie Benn - Steve Ott - Adam Burish
Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak - Eric Nystrom
Tomas Vincour - Tom Wandell - Ryan Garbutt

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen

Coach Glen Gulutzan Leading Dallas Stars Through Tough Season - Defending Big D
Glen Gulutzan walked into a situation where failure was not an option for most of the fans of this franchise, yet was challenged to lead a basement-payroll team to the playoffs. We discussed how the new players on this team should provide better balance -- and they have -- yet as the season has progressed the lack of overall talent and depth has caught up to the Stars, and Gulutzan has been fighting to keep his team's head above water.

Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Edmonton Oilers (8:30pm CST) - Defending Big D
Edmonton, meanwhile, shouldn't be easily dismissed. Though firmly out of the playoff race yet again, their 8-6-2 record in their last 16 games is just as good as the Stars 8-5-3 record over the same span. They're more than capable of putting the puck in the net (3.06 goals per game over the 16 contests) but just as bad at keeping it out (3.12 goals against in the same span). Dallas went 1-1-0 in two games at Rexall last season.

Dallas Stars Daily Links: Sheldon Souray Returns To Edmonton - Defending Big D
Given how seamlessly Sheldon Souray has fit in with the Dallas Stars this season, it's easy to forget that his relationship with the Edmonton Oilers did not end well. And that's putting it very, very mildly.

2012 NHL Playoffs: Are the Dallas Stars A Playoff Team? - Defending Big D
Is this all a mirage, however? Have the Stars actually improved as a team and changed for the better, legitimately becoming a threat to not only make the playoffs but become a threat if they make it?

Why still being a Dallas Star is sweet for Souray - The Dallas Morning News
"Honestly, I was relieved when the trade deadline passed, really relieved," said the brawny defenseman. "Y'know, you can say that it wouldn't have been a bad thing to move, but I just couldn't imagine anyplace else I would rather be right now."

Barking Up The Wrong Tree - Oil On Whyte
My only fear is that Barker plays just adequate enough over the next dozen and a half games to warrant an extension in management’s eyes.

G64 Stars at Oilers - Lowetide
The hope for Oiler fans today is that RNH and or Taylor Hall will enjoy Mike Modano-like success in the NHL–with one notable exception. Modano began his career in Minnesota and helped the franchise win a Stanley in Dallas. Oiler fans would much prefer seeing the Stanley (and the Oilers) remain in Edmonton.

Complete Coverage >



Dallas Stars Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brenden Morrow other-excused 02/03/2012
Jake Dowell fingers 02/22/2012


Edmonton Oilers Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Nikolai Khabibulin groin 03/02/2012

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Theo Peckham other-excused 03/02/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Taylor Fedun femur 10/03/2011


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