Oilers @ Stars Game 49 Preview

Valeri Nichushkin - Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers look to keep Dallas winless in 2014


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@

Dallas
15-28-5 .744 p/g Ranks 20-18-7, 1.044 p/g
Western Conference: 14th Western Conference: 10th
29th P/G 20th
26th ST 7nd
28th ES 15th
30th Goal 25th
6:30 MDT - Sportsnet West
American Airlines Center
The opposing view: Defending Big D


Top Stories

  • Ales Hemsky scored, Boyd Gordon technically scored, and Taylor Hall had a goal, but the Blackhawks scored two more than Edmonton in a 5-3 victory.  Sam Gagner (foot) and Taylor Hall (shoulder) are expected to be in the lineup tonight after a maintenance day on Monday. The Ales Hemsky trade winds are circling once again, a sure sign that it's January in Edmonton.

The Oilers are saying

"I thought Sam was making some plays, and I thought he even looked more comfortable, I actually took him off that line during the game a little bit last night 'cause I was trying to jump start some other guys, 'cause I thought Sam was playing fairly well.  I'm going to go right back to that same line though again, I thought they were starting to develop a bit of chemistry, and as always we'll see how it goes.

That's Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins on moving Sam Gagner to the wing and playing with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

In an effort to spark Sam Gagner, Eakins has moved him to the wing on the first line.  Can't say as I disagree with this, as Gagner's had a season he'd like to light on fire with a 55 gallon drum of gasoline.  If it was Hemsky he was trying to jump start, it worked, as Hemsky had a two point game on the night, including a goal and an assist on Taylor Hall's third period marker.

The Opponent is saying

"We turned the puck over too many times"
That's Stars coach Lindy Ruff after the Stars dropped a 4-2 decision to the Islanders on Sunday.  The Stars had a 2-1 lead with just over four minutes remaining, but allowed three goals in just over four minutes, surely delighting the remaining fans in attendance.

Hasn't been a real fun time for the Stars as of late.  They've lost six consecutive games, good for their worst losing streak since 1995-96 when Brent Fedyk and Randy Wood were trying to prop the tent up in Dallas.  Dallas' goaltending has fallen off a bit, as Kari Lehtonen isn't playing all world (.915) and backup Dan Ellis (.898) isn't doing all that well either.

Dallas is still doing a fair bit of the scoring (they're twelfth in the NHL), but they're allowing more shots per game than the Oilers on the year.  Over time we know what happens to teams that allow more shots than they take.

Of note:
  • Ales Hemsky trade rumour season has begun, a rite of passage in Edmonton.  You'll know it's Hemsky trade season when you hear some of the worst armchair GMing of the year.  You'll hear suggestions that trading Hemsky for Garnet Exelby and three pairs of CCM socks is a fair deal. Hemsky is the fifth scorer on this team averaging just over .5 points per game.  Go on, do your worst. Maybe I'll bring back "I can't believe it's not Blogger" just for awful Hemsky rumours.
  • Tyler Seguin (21-20-41 in 43 GP) projecting to be an 80 point scorer on the season.  Jamie Benn (15-22-37 in 45 GP) projects out to 65+.
  • Coach Eakins says that Jesse Joensuu (flu) is still a few days away, but it sounded like he he'll find a spot for him when he's ready.
  • Oilers will be going back to Bryzgalov (3-6-2, 3.20 /.905) after Devan Dubnyk had a two game stint. Dubnyk (11-17-2, 3.36 / .894)  faced 41 shots in the loss to Chicago. The Blackhawks rank second in the league in shots per game.  The Stars rank seventh.
  • While the Stars rank seventh in shots taken per game, they also rank 25th in shots allowed. Edmonton ranks 24th.  Great time to put the puck on net, right? Maybe.  The Oilers are 26th overall in shots for.
  • Valeri Nichushkin (9-13-22 in 44 GP) on the fourth line?  No no, Stars, you're doing it all wrong.  You're supposed to scratch your first round pick, and say that it's a learning process, or it's part of a forty minute conversation you had, or some "plan" that you and him worked out.  How is a young player that's supposed to turn into a dynamic weapon on offence supposed to turn into that weapon without a very public event about him getting scratched and you trying to explain it away?

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Sam Gagner

Nail Yakupov - Mark Arcobello - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky

Luke Gazdic - Ryan Smyth - Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz - Anton Belov

Jeff Petry - Martin Marincin

Ilya Bryzgalov

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Erik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt

Ray Whitney - Vernon Fiddler - Alex Chiasson

Shawn Horcoff - Rich Peverley - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski - Trevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - Jordie Benn

Kevin Connauton - Sergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen


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