Tonight the Edmonton Oilers (5-4-3) will host the Dallas Stars (6-5-1) for the second time in a week, and there is already a lot on the line. The Oilers lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the Stars, 3-2, back on February 6th, and will certainly be looking for revenge tonight.
The Oilers finally ended their losing streak at five games this past Sunday after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on the road, and they will be looking to regain some momentum as they start this five-game homestand. Not only will they be anxious to start a lengthy winning streak of their own, but they will need to get things straightened out and their offense in high gear before immediately setting off on a nine-game road trip once this homestand ends. A win against the Stars would go a long way to building their confidence, as it has been over a year since the Oilers last defeated the Stars. Devan Dubnyk is having an All-Star season in net so far, going 5-3-3 with a 2.45 GAA and a .928 SV%, which is a good thing considering he is facing over 33 shots per game and has faced at least 38 shots in four of his last five outings.
The Stars, meanwhile, are riding high. Currently on a three-game winning streak, they have vaulted themselves into the Western Conference playoff hunt and are tied with the Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild for eighth place with 13 points. Expect goaltender Kari Lehtonen to get the start against the Oilers as he is 8-1-0 with a 1.89 GAA in his past nine starts versus Edmonton.
For the Oilers, tonight’s game marks a chance for them to gain some crucial traction. A victory would not only give them a two-game winning streak, but it would help end a lengthy losing streak to a Dallas Stars team that has confounded them for years. The Oilers are floundering and need to get on track as soon as possible if they want to save this season.
For the Stars, they have to be licking their chops at the thought of facing Edmonton tonight. Their offense is clicking, Lehtonen has looked great in net, and they have only played once since they last faced Edmonton while the Oilers have played twice, and both of those games have come more recently than Dallas’s last game, so the Stars should be plenty rested for tonight. On paper there is no reason why they should not win this matchup.
Will the Oilers be able to break the spell that Dallas has cast over them? Or will the Stars continue to have their way with Edmonton?