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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars

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Back home, can Oilers get back to a win?

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (10-11-2) (6th, Pacfic)

Dallas Stars (12-10-2) (5th, Central)

7 PM MST

Rogers Place

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Defending Big D

HOME COOKIN’?

Oilers are back home after a three game visit to California that saw them finish 1-1-1. There are no good reasons why the trip couldn’t have finished at 3-0. A last minute goal in Anaheim followed by a not-quite sixty-minute effort in LA leaves the Oilers closer to the bottom of the Pacific than the top.

Dallas stops by Edmonton as the Oilers return home for a three game stanza. Can the Oilers start putting the puck in the net again?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

“I’m not going to tell him how to play with the puck … but on puck battles and pressure I want to see the second and third effort. That’s the element we’re going to be pushing him on.”

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on Jesse Puljujarvi’s game on Sunday. Puljujarvi played just 7:43 in Edmonton’s 5-2 loss to the Kings.

I feel this is an evaluation period for Puljujarvi and Hitchcock, sort of a feeling-out period. I can be certain of a few things, one of them is that you’re not going to get much on the score sheet with eight minutes of ice time.

The Stars are saying

“When we have a one-goal lead with five minutes left, we have to find a way to buckle down and get the win. There’s no excuses, not at this level. You’re based on results in this league. To come away with at the very minimum not a single point, stuff like that can’t happen. It’s just unacceptable.”

Source

That’s Stars forward Blake Comeau after the Stars gave up a late lead on Saturday.

Colorado scored two goals in 46 seconds to take two points away from the Stars on Saturday. The Avalanche would emerge victorious by a 3-2 margin. Losing late stinks. Ask the Oilers.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • NOT ALL BAD: It hasn’t been all chocolates and roses for the Edmonton Oilers so far this year, but the fact that the Pacific Division has not been good at all works well into their favour. Sure, the Oilers are 10-11-2, but a three game win streak would almost certainly put them at a near a playoff position. (Vegas holds the third spot and is at an 82 point pace). It’s not an enviable position to be in, but it’s better than forgoing the last five months of the season with nothing to look forward to.
  • Like I mentioned with Puljujarvi a couple of paragraphs ago, Hitchcock is trying things to see if anything is sticking. I don’t know how many more games of Ryan Spooner on the top line we’re going to get to see, but I don’t think I want to see many more. A fourth line of Patrick Russell - Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi probably isn’t good for your diet either. Chris Wideman had a forgettable sequence on Dustin Brown’s first goal in LA. Shake ‘em up.
  • NET GAINS - I’d expect Mikko Koskinen to get the nod for Edmonton today (5-2-1, .914 SV% / 2.57 GAA / 1 SO) while Anton Khudobin is likely for the Stars (4-5-1, .905 SV% / 3.07 GAA) as the Stars are playing their first of a back-to-back tonight.
  • SICK BAY - Andrej Sekera (ankle) and Tobias Rieder (face) are out for the Oilers. The Stars are without forward Martin Hanzal (back), and defencemen John Klingberg (hand). Goalie Ben Bishop (lower body) and defenceman Marc Methot (lower body) are day-to-day

  • Ah yes, the Leon-on-the-left wing era has begun. I’m also not thinking that Ty Rattie is long for Edmonton.