Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars Host Edmonton Oilers (7:30pm CST)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Six games. The line must be drawn here. This far. No further.

The Dallas Stars appeared set to end their losing streak at five against the New York Islanders Sunday night, leading 2-0 after one period and 2-1 late in the third.

But they allowed John Tavares and company 13 third-period shots and eventually three third-period goals in a 3:24 span to surrender their first regulation loss when leading after two periods this season.

The six-game losing streak is the franchise's first since the 1995-1996 season.

The culprit began at defense, but now shifts to offense. At 2, 2, 0, 3, and 1 the Stars have managed just eight total in their last five games. The power play did not register a single shot against the Islanders Sunday, despite 31 at even strength.

From Stars PR: "The Stars host the Edmonton Oilers in the third and final meeting between these two clubs scheduled for the 2013-14 season. Dallas is 1-0-1 against Edmonton so far this season, and has earned points in 16 of its last 18 games against the Oilers (12-2-4). Goaltender KARI LEHTONEN has only allowed two goals against the Oilers this season for a .963 SV% and a 0.97 GAA in the two contests. LEHTONEN has posted wins in six of his last eight games against the Oilers (6-1-1), and owns an overall record of 10-3-1 in 14 games against them."

Monday was a CBA-mandated day off for the Stars, but when they last convened their lineup looked something like this:

Benn-Seguin-Cole
Roussel-Eakin-Garbutt
Horcoff-Peverley-Nichushkin
Whitney-Fiddler-Chiasson

It's usually said that it's a first line and perhaps a few thirds - but lately that can't even be claimed. Tyler Seguin is on his second five-game pointless streak of the year already, and is a -8 in the team's last eight games. To say that he and Benn are not producing right now is a bit of an understatement.

They'll try to get back on the metaphorical horse but will chase Hall and RNH. Or they'll chase Eberle and Yakupov. Or Perron and Hemsky. (Why are the Oilers so poor, again?)

Dan Ellis sparkled through about 55 mintues on Sunday night, spelling Kari Lehtonen after a back-to-back set on the road, so the expectation is that the big Finn will be back between the pipes tonight.

Aaron Rome has reportedly suffered his third lower-body injury of the season already so the pairings will likely remain Goligoski-Daley, Dillon-Benn, and Connauton-Gonchar.

The Oilers, meanwhile, have dropped four of their last six. Or, if you like, they've collected points in six of their last ten, and the losses have been to Chicago, Anaheim, San Jose and St. Louis.

There's certainly no shame in that. Nor is there any in their 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night. They have the talent to score and they have little or nothing to lose.

They just allow too many goals per game. The most in the league, actually, and at a wide margin - 3.48. The next nearest team is the (here's a kick in the gut) New York Islanders.

They've allowed three or more goals in 15 of their last 17 contests, averaging 3.70 over that time frame (early December).

Devan Dubnyk was the victim in goal for their 5-3 loss to Chicago Sunday night at United Center as he was peppered with 41 shots.

Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal blamed their second period, opining that "For the umpteenth time this season, the Oilers became discombobulated in the middle period, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-2 Blackhawks' cushion. Chicago out-shot Edmonton 19-6 and out-chanced the Oilers about 15-3 in the period."

Their lineup tonight, or something close to it:

Hall-Nugent Hopkins-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Gazdic-Smyth-Jones

Ference-Schultz
Schultz-Belov
Petry-Marincin

Dubnyk
Bryzgalov

The puck drops tonight at 7:30 on Fox Sports Southwest proper.

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