Stars Look for Rebound Against Oilers

One bad loss in Vancouver doesn’t end the season, but Dallas needs a return to form in the first of an Alberta back-to-back against Edmonton.

Chants of “Bruce, there it is” echoed through Rogers Arena on Monday night as the Vancouver Canucks ran up the score against a very beatable Dallas Stars team.

Bruce Boudreau has orchestrated a mid-season turnaround for the Canucks, and in doing so, has unleashed a potent offense. Jealous much, Stars fans? It even has Vancouver sneaking into the playoff conversation.

So, on to Edmonton. The Stars have enjoyed success against the Oilers so far this year, picking up two home wins. The first featured Miro Heiskanen shadowing Connor McDavid, with McDavid unable to shake him and ending a 17-game scoring streak. The second was a tighter matchup, and without Heiskanen in the lineup, the pairing of John Klingberg and Esa Lindell struggled against the Oilers’ top player.

Regardless, the Stars are going to have to deal with Edmonton without being able to dictate matchups. After the Canucks stretched out the Dallas defense with a combination of stretch passes and speed, the Stars need to be diligent in order to lock down the Oilers high-powered offense.

All of this with playoff pressure, and on the front end of a back-to-back with a matchup against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) - Tyler Seguin (91) - Marian Studenic (43)
Michael Raffl (18) - Radek Faksa (12) - Luke Glendening (11)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Jacob Peterson (40) - Alexander Radulov (47)

Ryan Suter (20) - Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) - John Klingberg (3)
Thomas Harley (55) - Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Scott Wedgewood (41)
Jake Oettinger (29)

The Stars mixed up lines going into the Vancouver game, and then multiple times during the game. This could be about anything.

Edmonton Oilers Lineup

Evander Kane (91) - Connor McDavid (97) - Jesse Puljujarvi (13)
Zach Hyman (18) - Leon Draisaitl (29) - Kailer Yamamoto (56)
Warren Foegele (37) - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) - Derek Ryan (10)
Devin Shore (14) - Ryan McLeod (71) - Zack Kassian (44)

Darnell Nurse (25) - Cody Ceci (5)
Duncan Keith (2) - Evan Bouchard (75)
Brett Kulak (27) - Tyson Barrie (22)

Mike Smith (41)
Mikko Koskinen (19)

The Oilers have used seven defenders recently, but may go back to a balanced line against the Stars.

Keys to the Game

Structure. Edmonton will look to expose the Stars defense, especially when Miro Heiskanen is off the ice.

Checking Line. In the first matchup of the year, the Faksa line was able to hold its own against Edmonton’s best players. In Vancouver, the checking line(s) got caved in. The line has played well recently, especially Luke Glendening. They need to return to that form.

Goaltending/Fast Start. The Oilers - and Mike Smith in particular - are coming off of two straight 4-0 shutout wins. The team also hasn’t played since Saturday. Dallas needs to take advantage of any rust in the Oilers game. Breaking up the shutout streak early would take the air out of the bubble and would put Monday night’s game in the rearview mirror.