Preview: Edmonton Oilers @ Dallas Stars (6:00pm CST)
Don’t miss it! It’s an early 6:00pm start at the AAC or on your video reception device electronic contraption thingies.
There's reason for optimism as the holidays arrive in Dallas. Health is returning to the Stars, Kari Lehtonen was brilliant on Tuesday, and a five-game point streak doesn't hurt either- Though their 3-2 win on Tuesday was not without its sticking points.
The Stars were brilliant in the first period, scoring three times and holding the Avalanche to just 12 total shot attempts. Then the tables turned. As brilliant as the Stars were in the opening 20 minutes the Avs were doubly-so for the remaining 40.
Doubly-so the tune of a 65-31 advantage in total shot attempts over the game's last two periods, and Nate Mackinnon was involved in seemingly every one of them.
Lindy Ruff's perceptions matched the data. He was forthcoming with his take-
“I thought we played twenty minutes," he said plainly. "Maybe a little bit more than that. Until the shorthanded goal, then I thought it was all them. I don’t think we played well enough, not even close to well enough. In fact, I thought it was embarrassing how we played. It’s a product of careless mistakes, a product of not winning enough battles, a product of giving them another short-handed goal.”
One presumes that motivation to improve upon Thursday will not be difficult to come by. Johnny Oduya said it best after the game when he added "Kari played phenomenal, and I think that saved us."
As you've no doubt heard by now, Gemel Smith and Esa Lindell have been returned to the Texas Stars as Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin, and now potentially Patrick Sharp all get worked back into the lineup, while Jiri Hudler's mystery illness continues.
Spezza had his moments Thursday and Cody Eakin's first period led the way for the Dallas- But all these newly healthy Stars need time to get up to 60 minutes worth of game action, so some more of these pains are possible.
Still, good news is good news. Sharp expects to play, and the Stars get that much closer to the team Jim Nill was trying to put on the ice all along.
Patrick Eaves didn't practice so the lines run on Friday don't mean a ton- We'll check back after morning skate tomorrow for hints on how Ruff will assemble his new set.
When last we came upon the Oilers they were looking quite formidable riding a 9-4-1 start. This time...maybe not so much. Antoine Roussel's game winner against Edmonton last week joins four others that make a five-game losing streak, dropping them to 9-8-1 and making their last victory nearly two weeks ago.
They'll try to salvage something positive from a three-game road trip that concludes tonight- The first two tries ended in a cumulative 8-3 score in favor of the Ducks and Kings in southern California. Disappointing results on the scoreboard, but perhaps a bit of luck is headed their way- After all they out-attempted the Kings 55-39 and the Ducks 70-46. Pretty dominant possession numbers with not much to show for it.
From Stars PR:
DRILLING FOR OIL
The Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers meet for the second of three meetings during the 2016-17 regular season. Dallas has a four-game win streak at home against Edmonton and has posted a 19-4-3 against the Oilers since moving into American Airlines Center for the 2001-02 season. In the first meeting of the season on Nov. 11 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Stars defeated the Oilers, 3-2. Dallas went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-of-3 on the penalty kill. Three Stars skaters recorded multi-point contests including captain Jamie Benn (0-2=2), forward Tyler Seguin (0-2=2) and forward Patrick Eaves (1-1=2). Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped a season-high 40-of-42 shots faced to record the victory in the first-ever game between the two clubs at Rogers Place.
THE BEARDED WONDER
Stars forward Patrick Eaves potted a goal (1-0=1) against Colorado on Thursday night and now has goals in four-consecutive games (5-1=6) and 10 points (7-3=10) over his last nine contests. Eaves' four-game goal streak is the longest of his NHL career and marks his longest point streak since last season, when he recorded points in five consecutive games (4-4=8) from Feb. 4 - 13, 2016. The forward is tied for second on the club with 14 points (8-6=14) in 17 games this season, while sharing 10th in the NHL in goals (8) and tied for sixth in power play goals (4). Eaves' 14 points so far this season mark the most he's recorded over the first 17 games of a season in his NHL career, surpassing his previous best of nine points (3-6=9) through 17 games in 2006-07, when he finished with career-high 32 points (14-18=32) in 73 games with Ottawa. The native of Calgary, Alta. recorded two points (1-1=2) in the first game of the season against the Oilers on Nov. 11 and has three points (1-2=3) in five games against them as a member of the Dallas Stars. In 15 career contest against Edmonton, he has recorded eight points (3-5=8).