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Game 49 Preview: Oilers at Stars

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With two games remaining until the All Star Break, Oilers visit Dallas to take on the Stars

When Iiro scores, good things happen.
When Iiro scores, good things happen.
Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports


Edmonton

@

Dallas
19-24-5, 43 points, .915 p/g Ranks 29-13-5, 63 points, 1.34 p/g
Pacific Division - 7th Central Division - 2nd
28th P/G 4th
19th ST 14th
20th S/G 2nd
26th Goal 18th
6:30 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
American Airlines Center
The opposing view:   Defending Big D

A Wild Finish

The Oilers were playing their second game in as many nights as they faced off against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. Zack Kassian scored his first goal as an Oiler, while Mark Letestu scored a shorthanded goal near the end of the first. The Lightning had goals from Nikita Nesterov and Nikita Kucherov in the first, and both teams entered the second period tied at 2-all.  The Lighting would score two more goals in the second period, this time from Ondrej Palat and Vladislav Namestnikov.  With twenty minutes to go, the Oilers trailed by a score of 4-2 when Leon Draisaitl and Iiro Pakarinen scored two goals early on in the third.

The Oilers would get a power play less than a couple of minutes later, when all hell broke loose.   Alex Killorn would score an empty net goal for the Lightning, and the Oilers' chance for at least a point turned to vapour.  I saw shades of Nikolai Khabibulin when Nilsson went out to chase that puck.  I've tried to suppress those memories for over seven years.

Today, the Oilers are in Dallas to take on one of the top teams in the Central Division, though they've been having a rough go of it as of late.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"Personally it feels good.  Obviously I've been through a lot.  But my main goal now is to just try to get wins."

Source

That's newest Oiler Zack Kassian on getting his first two points in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Lightning.

Early reports on Kassian:  Not getting sheltered minutes, and not looking out of place.  Scoring a couple of points sure helps as well.  Can he keep it up?  Check out Sunil's latest on Zack Kassian's first impressions with the club.

The opponents are saying

"I think we did a little better job but we still have to play 60 minutes and battle hard, be comfortable playing those tight games.  It'll be tight games to the end.  We'll not see too many open games and it'll be tough to score goals.  So we just have to put everything in the net and play better."  Source

That's Dallas forward Ales Hemsky on his team's post-holiday struggles.  The Stars have just three wins since Christmas, though they continue to hold the second spot in the Central.  St. Louis is tied with Dallas with 63 points while Minnesota sits a distant eleven points away.

Have some of this

  • That's a wrap on defenceman Andrew Ference for the 2015-16 year.  He hasn't played since November 27th, a game against the Red Wings that saw him log just 4:24 of ice time.
  • SECONDARY SCORING - Goals from Zack Kassian?  Iiro Pakarinen?  More please.  Take some of the pressure off of your top guys and you'll see more four goal games.  The trick to winning more games is not allowing six.
  • Cam Talbot (9-13-3, .915 SV% / 2.56 GAA / 1 SO) will get the start for Edmonton tonight.  Look for Kari Lehtonen (13-5-0, .908 SV% / 2.82 GAA / 1 SO) to get the nod for Dallas.
  • PACIFIC WATCH / SHOOTING FOR SIXTH:  Calgary lost to New Jersey on Tuesday which gave the Oilers a great opportunity to climb a little bit up the ladder.  Unfortunately, the Oilers lost to the Lightning so the Oilers remain tied with Calgary with 43 points.  The Flames have four games in hand over the Oilers.  Edmonton is six points out of third place in the Central division, a spot currently held by the Coyotes who have 49 points.
  • Connor McDavid (clavicle), Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand)  and Oscar Klefbom (hand), are out for the Oilers.  For the Stars, forward Jordie Benn (lower body) is day-to-day.