The Oilers’ season has been a catastrophe so far. They are the worst team in the Western Conference. They cannot play defense. They cannot keep pucks out of the net. They have only won one game at home this season. With that established, the Stars should easily handle Oilers.
The Stars own a significant edge in the possession matchup over the Oilers. The Stars’ Fenwick-For percentage (FF%) is 50.8 percent during 5-on-5 overall play, and the Oilers only own a FF% of 45.7 percent. Broken down even further, the Stars’ “Tied” FF% 5-on-5 play is 51.3 percent, and the Oilers “Tied” FF% is 43.4 percent. Finally, the Stars’ “Close” FF% during 5-on-5 is 51.8 percent, and the Oilers’ “Close” FF% is 45.4 percent.
As maligned as the Stars’ defense has been this season, the Oilers’ defense has been that much worse.
Regarding goaltending, the Stars also own a significant edge in that matchup, with Kari Lehtonen starting for the Stars opposite of Devan Dubnyk. Lehtonen’s record is 7-3-2, and he boasts a 2.18 goals against average (GAA) and a .928 save percentage. Dubnyk, on the other hand, owns a miserable 3-8-1 record, a 3.93 GAA and .876 save percentage.
Undoubtedly, the Oilers have plenty of talent on offense, with Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov on the roster just to name a few. Once that franchise figures out how to play defense, they will be extremely tough to play against. Right now, that is not the case.
For former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff, this will be his first game back in Edmonton after spending the first 12 years of his career there and the last three years as the captain. There have been numerous homecomings for Stars players and management this season, and now it’s Horcoff’s turn. Former Stars defenseman Philip Larsen, who the Stars traded to Edmonton to acquire Horcoff, will play tonight for the Oilers.