We had to wait until mid-Janurary for it, but seeing the craziness that is always Oilers v Stars almost made it worth it did it not? It was a crazy game that saw a little bit of everything from two teams where we expect to see almost anything happen. The Edmonton Oilers for the most part dominated this game over their rival Dallas Stars, but as it has been for all but five times since 1993 the Stars skated away with a 3-2 victory in Dallas to finally post a home win in seven tries.
In the first period the Oilers outchanced and out shot the Stars by a wide margin in each category, but it was Brenden Morrow that got the first goal of the game about fourteen minutes into the game. In the second the Stars evened things up at least a little bit, but again were out shot and did give up a few more scoring chances but yet again were able to score the period's lone goal as Jamie Benn finished off a pretty passing play to stake the Stars to a 2-0 lead.
Both the Oilers and Stars did manage to trade disallowed goals in the second period as a Kurtis Foster goal was waved off when the ref ruled that Linus Omark bumped into Kari Lehtonen and then ten minutes later a Steve Ott goal was striken from the record as it was ruled Adam Burish crashed a little too much into Oiler goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
In the third period, the Oilers kept on playing the same way - that being a hard skating, determined effort where they used their superior speed they were playing in the first two periods, the only difference was that they finally cashed in on their chances with a pair of goals from J.F. Jacques and Ryan Jones about two minutes apart. The Oilers flurry of goals seemed to wake the Stars up a little bit though as James Neal wired a wrist shot past Khabibulin that was so hard that no one saw the puck ricochet off the crossbar off the back of the net and right back out.
I say though that it only woke the Stars up a little because the Oilers continued their relentless attack on the Stars goal and it was everything Dallas players could do to just hang on for the - yet again - narrow one goal victory.
*whew* - And to think the Stars have three more meetings with these kids from Edmonton...
More thoughts and three stars after the jump...
- The Stars power play in a single word: Abysmal. They went 0 for 2 and were in fact out shot by the Oilers penalty killers 3-2. Yes, the Oilers speed had a lot to do with the fact the Stars couldn't set anything up but on the whole the Stars looked about as organized as a high school hockey team playing in their first game. At least the Stars penalty killers were ok killing off the three times they were short handed.
- Maybe it was an off day for most of the players, maybe they caught the Oilers in a foul mood as they were coming off a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Canucks the previous Friday. Whatever the case, this was a poor effort from the Stars and they should feel quite lucky to come away with two points against this young Oilers squad. There were a handful of Stars who did play well: Neal, Morrow, Steve Ott, Mark Fistric and Brad Richards all come to mind right away, but overall a poor team effort that I can't believe Marc Crawford will be happy with going into the next few days off that the Stars have.
- Other Stars picking up points: Mike Ribeiro, Philip Larsen, Ott, Adam Burish, Richards and Loui Eriksson all had solo assists.
- This game would have been a blowout had it not been for the work of Lehtonen who ended up making 39 saves on 41 shots against. One really has to wonder why the Stars defense can be so air-tight and effective playing in front of an Andrew Raycroft, yet as we saw tonight allow multiple chances, cause too many turnovers in their own zone and fail to clear pucks properly in front of Kari.