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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Dallas Stars

Oilers back at it after picking up a point in Denver last night

New Jersey Devils v Edmonton Oilers
the password is: trumpet
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (35-23-5, 3rd, Pacific)

Dallas Stars (34-24-3, 5th, Central)

22 March 2022

American Airlines Center

630 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Defending Big D

The Oilers’ five game win streak has come to a stop, but not without picking up a point in a 3-2 OT loss to the Colorado Avalanche last night. Kailer Yamamoto and Evander Kane scored for Edmonton, while Mike Smith stopped 23 of 25. The Avalanche’s power play proved once again that it is not to be trifled with as Mikko Rantanen scored two power play goals in regulation. Nathan MacKinnon scored the OT winner after Darnell Nurse was forced to the bench after losing his bucket on the ice from a hit. Edmonton’s win streak is over, but they pick up a point against one of the best clubs in the NHL.

The Oilers would love to get right back into the win column as they’re in Dallas to face the Stars. Now with three points separating them from Vegas, can they make that cavern wider?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I thought we were dialed in and I was pleased with the way we competed...I don’t think we gave up a 5-on-5 goal tonight, and the first two goals that went in went off people’s bodies that, you know, those things happen in hockey. We’re right there against the team that’s leading the NHL in points and in a tough building. Happy that we got to a point.”

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft after his club’s 3-2 OTL to the Colorado Avalanche last night.

Last night’s game against the Avalanche was a good game. Not allowing a 5-on-5 goal is pretty big, especially when you’re playing one of the game’s top clubs. A bounce off of Tyson Barrie while shorthanded, and another bounce off of Nurse on an ensuing Avalanche power play were quite likely the difference-makers in this one. A pretty good game for the Oilers on the road gets you one point in the standings, and another game is coming right up tonight.

THE STARS ARE SAYING

“We’re asking a lot of Jake here, and there’s major concerns with that...We realize that right now Holtby might not be able to play for a while. And with the schedule, we’re exposing [Jake] to potential injuries, so we needed to add another goalies. We’ve seen Scott play lots, we’ve played against him and he’s played very well. He was a good fit, and the acquisition cost worked. We have to work within the cap.”

Source

That’s Stars GM Jim Nill on him acquiring goaltender Scott Wedgewood from the Arizona Coyotes yesterday.

Jake Oettinger has become the go-to guy in Dallas this year, but the Stars will need someone to hold the fort at number two. Both Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin are out for a chunk of time due to injury, and Scott Wedgewood was brought in to spell Oettinger when needed. Wedgewood has limited NHL experience, but has a nice enough .909 SV% in just 29 career games. He stopped a mountain of shots (45) in his last game against the Penguins just three days ago.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • NOT YET!: New acquisitions Brett Kulak and Derick Brasssard won’t play until Thursday for the Oilers, but you can bet that Kulak’s deployment is going to have my interest by quite a lot.
  • ONE TIME: Kailer Yamamoto’s stock keeps going up. Another goal for “Yams” in last night’s game against the Avalanche, he’s got a goal in five of his last six games. You play a game, you get a goal. Seems easy enough. Let’s keep this plan up.
  • ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING: Evander Kane’s stock keeps going up. Another goal for Kane in last night’s game against the Avalanche, he’s got five goals in his last four games. You play a game, you get a goal. Seems easy enough. Let’s keep that plan up.
  • 91: An assist last night for Connor McDavid puts him at 91 points on the season, he ought to be in line for point number 100 by 5 or 6 o’clock tomorrow.
  • SOMETHING TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Jesse Puljujärvi played about eleven and a half minutes in last night’s game, and I’m not sure what’s up there. If it’s a Woodcroft tactic to keep him fresh for tonight, that’s pretty smart. If it’s someting else, we’ll find out soon.
  • Joe Pavelski is playing at a point per game for Dallas (23-39-62) which is pretty remarkable for a 37 year old forward in today’s NHL. He’s in the final year of his deal, so it’ll be pretty interesting to see where he ends up after this year’s numbers.
  • Mikko Koskinen ( 23-9-3, .904 SV% / 3.04 GAA / 1 SO) should start for the Oilers tonight, while Jake Oettinger (21-10-1, .918 SV% / 2.48 GAA / 1 SO) should go for the Stars. Like Stars GM Jim Nill said in the quote up above, it’s Oettinger’s crease right now. Oettinger is a first round selection by the Stars from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and he’s paying full returns for the Stars right now.
  • CREATING SPACES: Oilers now three points ahead of the Golden Knights in the standings with two games in hand. Making it five points tonight all with a game in hand would be some good content for everyone.