After a tough loss to the Chicago Blackhawks to start their nine-game road trip, the Edmonton Oilers will be looking to change their fortunes tonight as they face the Dallas Stars. They could not be facing a worse opponent, however.
Dallas is 10-0-1 in its last 11 home games versus the Oilers. Edmonton last beat the Stars on the road in regulation in December of 2006. The Stars have won six in a row overall against the Oilers including a 3-2 OT victory on February 6th and a 4-1 blowout on February 12th.
Devan Dubnyk, tonight’s likely starter for the Oilers now that Nikolai Khabibulin has tweaked his groin and gone back on the IR, is 0-4-1 with a 4.01 GAA in five career starts versus the Stars. Conversely, Kari Lehtonen has won his last five starts versus the Oilers and posted a 1.19 GAA, so he will certainly be happy that his first start after missing five games with a groin injury of his own will be coming against a team he owns.
The Oilers will be happy to welcome back Taylor Hall tonight now that he has finished serving his two-game suspension by the National Hockey League for kneeing Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild last week. The Oilers rank 27th in the league in scoring at 2.2 goals per game and although they nearly won both games in his absence, they will certainly be glad to have his speed and toughness in the lineup against an overwhelming, physical team like the Stars.
Can the Oilers finally break out of their funk tonight, both for this season and against the Stars or will Dallas Dial W for Win again against the hapless Oilers? Stay tuned.