Ryan Miller almost ruined the Dallas Stars' trip to see owner Tom Gaglardi in Vancouver last night.
Miller was spectacular is battling a nearly constant Stars attack but a terrific individual effort from Patrick Sharp to put Dallas ahead and a Jason Spezza empty-net goal secured a 20th victory of the season for Lindy Ruff's group- On December 3rd.
Kari Lehtonen moves to 10-1-0 on the season, 7-0 on the road, and the Stars pushed their lead in the Central to eight points over the idle St. Louis Blues. They now look to close out this road swing with a back-to-back win in Edmonton as they face the Oilers.
The puck drops tonight at 8:00pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS, and Antti Niemi figured to get the start on the back-to-back.
You'd be hard pressed to call the Edmonton Oilers, despite the off-season changes both in front of and behind the bench, anything but relatively poor through 26 games at 9-15-2.
They've not been terrible offensively- A rather middle-of-the-road 2.42 goal per game. Rather it's the defensive side where they've struggled to keep up, even in a down division like the Pacific. Only two teams allow more goals per outing than does Edmonton at 3.04.
That being said, the Oil have earned points in three of their last four and five of their last eight overall, so they've been plenty competitive. They defeated a very hot offensive team in the Bruins 3-2 in a shootout at home Wednesday and the Penguins on the road, also in the shootout, a few days before that.
Not coincidentally they kept their opponents to two goals in those two victories- But they allow four a little too often.
If #fancystats are your cup of tea you would be interested to know they're a pretty average Corsi team at 48.4% at 5-on-5- Middle of the road. Combine that with their team save percentage, 28th in the league at 90.9% (5-on-5) and it paints the picture of a team that's not getting the netminding they need.
Their lineup or something close to it-
For fun, this is a sample of what the local media has been saying about the team:
The Edmonton Oilers considered it an opportunity lost against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For their fans, it was the confirmation of another lost season.
The Oilers returned home from their five-game road trip (1-3-1) in worse shape than they started.
Pot, welcome fire.
"We're not where we need to be, that's the best way of putting it," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan after a 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on Monday. "Right now, we have a few players missing in action, which teams go through, but we have to get them up and running and make them effective at least for portions of the game."
The 8-15-2 Oilers are currently being pulled by Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl. The rest of the club seems to just be along for the ride. [Edmonton Sun]
We'll see you back here tonight for the gameday thread and fun at 8:00pm CST.