Are you a team that's down on your luck? Maybe you've lost a couple games in a row and you just need something, anything, to go right, something to get that winning feeling back into your dressing room and get your team headed in the right direction. If that sounds like your team, then I have the solution for you, a game against the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL's number one slump buster.
If you really dug into the number I don't know if you'd find that the Oilers break more losing streaks than any other team, or if they are the answer to "Who did Goalie X get his first career shutout against?" more than any other team, but it certainly seems that way. Or it could just be that the Oilers have lost a ton of games over the last decade - 44 more than any other team - and this is a natural result of that.
But whether it's there or not, between the Dallas Stars having lost for straight and the Oilers history in Dallas (not to mention that the Stars are a much better hockey team), there was little reason to think that this game would end well for the visiting team. And that's exactly what happened.
Before a lot of fans had even settled into their seats the Stars had the lead; it took all of 93 seconds for Jason Spezza to get the Stars on the board. You've seen this goal before, the Oilers defenceman, in this case Justin Schultz, handles the puck like a grenade and the resulting turnover ends up behind Cam Talbot. After this though the Oilers settled down and played a decent period, coming away trailing by just one. In Dallas with the Oilers lineup in the shape it was, that's a win.
The Stars extended their lead to two goals briefly in the second period before a coaches challenge reversed the on-ice call. Even when it works out in the Oilers' favour it's a terrible rule so I'm not going to say anything more about it than that. And besides, the Stars scored a goal that couldn't be called back just after this anyway, so it all balances out or something like that.
On the Stars second goal Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl looked a sleepy, failing to pickup Jamie Benn in the slot; for the record, he's pretty good, it'd be advisable to at least put a stick on him. At the time I criticized Mark Fayne for this goal as well but watching the replay a couple more time I have no idea why. He makes a nice play to break up the cross ice pass, if the forward do anything that doesn't result in a goal. Mark, if I hurt your feeling, I'm sorry.
Before the end of the second period the Oilers and Stars would trade a couple more goals. First Teddy Purcell got the Oilers on the board with his 11th goal of the season, a rare power play goal too, and then Jyrki Jokipakka restored the Stars two goal lead 15 seconds later. Because this is how things go when the Oilers play in Dallas. Both goals were deflected, giving the goalies very little chance on either shot.
The second period also saw Brandon Davidson leave the game with injury. The play didn't look like much but he was in obvious pain when he left the ice and he's already been ruled out for Saturday's game which doesn't leave me with many happy thoughts. Oh, and the Matt Hendricks blocked a shot, well, his tweet tells you all that you need to know about where he blocked it.
Coach McLellan says Brandon Davidson won't play Saturday as the #Oilers host Nashville after leaving tonight's game with an injury.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 22, 2016
Id like to thank Bike & @RussellAthletic for saving my bacon tonight! #closecall pic.twitter.com/heGYVlQnqr— Matt Hendricks (@MattHendy26) January 22, 2016
Nail Yakupov, who started the night on the fourth line but was quickly promoted to the second and played a strong game overall with Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Eberle, scored the only goal of the third period to give the Oilers a little bit of life with three minutes and change left on the clock. It was a bad angle shot, and one that Antti Niemi probably should have had, but who cares, Yak deserves some good bounces for a change.
There would be no comeback though. In fact, the Oilers best chance with the net empty came off the stick of a Dallas Star when the faceoff was won so cleanly that it forced Niemi to make a save. And then it was over. Another loss in Dallas. And another injured Oiler to go with it. But at least we tied them in Corsi, that counts for something, right?
The Oilers will be back on home ice on Saturday night, taking on the Nashville Predators. After that it's some time off for the All-Star Game. Hopefully Hall can get through that without getting injured.