Half of this picture is benched. - Christian Petersen
No Whitney? No Smyth? No Jones? No problem!
Turmoil in Edmonton and smooth sailing in big D. These teams are on opposite trajectories, but have many of the same problems, especially defensive depth. They're both reliant on their big goaltenders and they both figure to be in the mix for the 7-10 spots in the West if they can get and stay healthy.
Oilers Report: Oh boy. Ryan Smyth and Ryan Whitney are in the press box tonight, making it a very expensive guest section. Darcy Hordichuk is gone (hopefully for good) and Shawn Horcoff is still hurt. That puts Chris Vandevelde into the lineup between the recently extremely effective Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Hartikainen, but leaves Eric Belanger in the midst of Ben Eager and Lennart Petrell - a zero chance of offense line. The Oilers have to find a way to beat Jamie Benn and Derek Roy - something they couldn't do last time around.
Stars Report: The Stars are heating up now that Benn and Roy have fit in. The defense is still suspect, but the forward depth, especially at centre, is creating opportunities through puck possession, something the Stars haven't had much of in recent years. While Benn and Roy are getting headlines, Cody Eakin has been mild surprise. Eakin is breaking even with the protection of Roy and Benn in front of him and if he keeps it up, he'll solve a big problem for the Stars - a third NHL centre.
Expected Line Combinations
Ben Eager -- Lennart Petrell
Mark Fistric - Jeff Petry
Scratches: Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney, Theo Peckham (on assignment)
By The Numbers