Good morning, everybody! I hope you’re all good and rested because we’ve got another dose of afternoon hockey coming up at 2pm MT. Today, our beloved Edmonton Oilers will square off against the Dallas Stars for the first time this season, and I invite all of you to join in on the pre-game festivities.
Do you remember the days when a matchup between the Oilers and Stars was, more or less, an annual occurrence in the playoffs, usually ending with Edmonton getting bumped out in the first round? For years, we were resigned to the probable fact that the Oilers would face the Stars in the round one, lose, and have the cycle repeat itself 12 months later. That was, of course, until Cujo made that ridiculous Game 7 save on Joe Nieuwendyk and Todd Marchant got his afterburners going, blowing past Grant Ledyard like the pylon he was to win the series in overtime. That was a huge day for me. Not only did my brother and I pick up a brand new N64 and spend hours playing Mario Kart but our beloved Oilers won a series that almost no one expected them to win. Needless to say, it was a huge day in the life of a young and impressionable Baggedmilk. More than two decades later, a win over the Stars still means the world to me.
As the years went on and the playoff matchups with the Stars became a distant memory, the rivalry between these clubs may have faded from what it used to be but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still hold a special place in the angriest parts of my brain for Dallas. I don’t care that Derian Hatcher retired a decade ago, I still remember the way that giant used to hack, slash, and hold his way through the Oilers’ roster and it still annoys me to think about, and I’ll carry that Stars’ related rage forward with me forever regardless of who plays there now. And don’t get me started on that goof in the tanned jacket that sits behind the goalie and bangs on the glass for 60 minutes, that guy is a whole article on its own. Thankfully, today’s game is at Rogers Place and we don’t have to worry about that guy. All we have to worry about is that the boys show up on time and try to replicate the awesome ridiculousness of what we saw against the Avalanche. It won’t be easy, but, brother, I think it’s doable.
This afternoon’s contest marks the first of three meetings between these two clubs with the next one coming up next month (12/16), which could mean some important Western Conference points heading into the Christmas break. In 2018-19, the Oilers went 1-1-0-1 against the Stars and were outscored by a seven to four margin over those three games.
|LAST 10 GAMES||5-4-1||8-1-1|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
— Baggedmilk – Oilers Beet writer (@jsbmbaggedmilk) November 15, 2019
Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Neal – RNH – Archibald
Nygard – Haas – Chiasson
Khaira – Sheahan – P. Russell
Nurse – Bear
Klefbom – Jones
Russell – Benning
After Thursday night’s beatdown of the Colorado Avalanche, it’s no surprise to see that Dave Tippett was going to roll with the exact same line combinations. The only change we’ll see against the Stars will be Mikko Koskinen getting his 10th start of the season, and I’m hoping the big man can keep his stellar play rolling so that the Oilers have two more points in the bank before heading out on a five-game road trip. I mean, another couple of field goals would be damned fun to watch.
Benn – Dowling – Seguin
Radulov – Dickson – Perry
Caamano – Pavelski – Gurianov
Cogliano – Faksa – Comeau
Oleksiak – Heiskanen
Lindell – Sekera
Hanley – Fedun
Never forget the many times that Chris the Former Intern said that Tyler Seguin is the most kissable NHLer. Traitor.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
The Stars have gotten better goaltending since the early games, and their defense has been remarkably stout. They’re getting some fantastic depth scoring to cover up the holes at the top of their lineup, and that’s usually enough to get it done in small stretches.
I don’t think there’s any reason to rest on their laurels or anything, especially when the schedule toughens up again. They don’t have any sort of cushion to rest atop this hole they’ve dug themselves out of; they only have a lot of loose dirt, moved around more efficiently than before. That’s a great place to be when you were down in the ditch for nine games. Now it’s time to pour the foundation and really start looking like the team they were supposed to be. There’s going to be more rupture and repair in the process, but you celebrate the small victories en route to the big ones, and the Stars have undoubtedly found some things to celebrate, as of November 15th. If they can buttress themselves against the fickle winds of fortune with continue scoring from the top of the lineup as well as the middle (or the bottom), then the Winter Classic could be a whole lot more fun than we were expecting it to be three weeks ago. I’m glad.
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers get another strong outing from the dynamic duo and it powers them to a 3-2 victory.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl extends his point streak to 12 games. Hell yeah.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Mikko Koskinen gets his first NHL point after he sets the puck up behind the net and Connor McDavid goes coast-to-coast on another highlight reel goal.
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