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GDB 51.0: Oilers look to avoid a losing streak in matchup against the Stars (1pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Well, well, well, if it isn’t the start of a matinee long weekend as the Edmonton Oilers square off against the Dallas Stars for a little afternoon puck at the American Airlines Center. This afternoon’s game marks the second matchup of the season, with the final instalment coming on April 3rd in Dallas.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL odds with online sportsbook Betway.
I don’t know about you, dear Nation Citizens, but I’ve hated the Dallas Stars since the 90s. Back then, the budget-conscious Oilers would barely scrape into the playoffs, only to meet the Stars in the first round and get bumped out more often than not.
It was the kind of annual hell that anyone roughly my age or older knows all too well, and the result of all those playoff matchups has been a disdain for the Stars franchise that has carried on for decades. Even though none of the players that used to annoy us in those days are around anymore — Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov, Jere Lehtinen… you name ‘em, they all roasted the Oilers — I still feel a saltiness in my mouth any time I see that terrible logo on the Oilers’ schedule.
These days, the Stars are once again a solid hockey club that pumps goals in the net (205) and will present a massive challenge for an Edmonton club that hasn’t exactly been dialled in, which, unfortunately, reminds me of why I hate the Stars in the first place. In 190 lifetime head-to-head matchups, the Stars have won 55.3% of those games (105) and outscored the Oilers by a 615 to 565 margin. In the playoffs, that winning percentage jumps considerably, winning 27 of 42 games at the time of year when it matters most.
I cannot stand the Dallas Stars.
Over the last two years, however, those numbers have evened out a whole lot more than we’ve seen in the past. Since March of 2022, the Oilers and Stars have squared off six times, with each team claiming three victories over that stretch. The wild part, though, is that over those same six games, the Oilers scored 23 goals while the Stars have 21 — these two teams have been very tightly matched. Obviously, we’ll need to wait, but I bet we’re more likely to see a one-goal finish than we’re to see a blowout.
History aside, Edmonton needs to do much better than the 4.6 goals against that they’ve allowed over their last three games. At 8-1-1 in their previous 10 games, the Stars are rolling and lead the Central Division by four points over the Colorado Avalanche, meaning this will be tough under the best circumstances. Winners of their last three, you know how much the Stars would love to extend that division lead, especially at home.
Dallas has outscored its opponents 16-6 during their three-game winning streak, and it will take a very good defensive game by the Oilers if they end it. From an Edmonton perspective, the Pacific Division is so tight near the top that these are the games the boys need to find a way to win. Yeah, the 16-game win streak was a blast to watch and experience, but it’s also weeks in the past, and we need to get back to winning games now. As much as it’s cold to say: What have the Oilers done for us lately?
Coming off Thursday’s dreadful 6-3 loss to the Blues, the most important thing that can happen this afternoon is for the Oilers to get back to basics. Anytime they struggle, the boys tend to try and get too cute with the puck, and that was certainly the case against the Blues, as noted by the four-goal second period that pretty much ended the night long before it was over.
If they can simplify what’s happening on the ice — get traffic in front, take shots from everywhere, and work their asses off to clean up the garbage — then they’re going to be fine. If the plan, however, is to try and get too cute and aim for nothing but highlight reel goals, then the Stars are simply too good for that tactic to work, especially with Jake Oettinger manning the crease.
I still think this game is ultimately winnable, but the Oilers are going to need to come up with a whole lot more effort and a significant increase in their levels of execution if they’re ever going to make that happen. Kris Knoblauch changed up the lines for practice yesterday to try and get the offence going, and I’m very curious to see whether anyone outside of the Dynamic Duo can respond to the challenge.
Let’s see what the numbers say…

THE NUMBERS

OILERSSTARS
RECORD31-18-134-14-6
WIN/LOSS STREAKL1W3
LAST 10 GAMES7-3-08-1-1
GOALS FOR177205
GOALS AGAINST144163
POWER PLAY%26.522.4
PENALTY KILL%80.681.9
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.730.9
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST28.230.3
TEAM SAVE%.912.911
CORSI FOR%55.5252.19
PDO0.9971.012
TEAM SHOOTING%8.5610.8
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%57.4154.35
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Connor McDavid picked up three more assists on Thursday night in St. Louis giving him nine helpers in his last two games. His nine assists in two games tied him with Wayne Gretzky (x4), Billy Taylor, Paul Coffey and Adam Oates for the second most in a two-game span in NHL history. Gretzky had 10 assists in a two-game span in February of 1986.
  • Leon Draisaitl picked up his 26th goal of the season against the Blues with a power play tally, his 12th PP goal of the season. He is now tied with Auston Matthews, Brock Boeser, Nikita Kucherov, Ryan O’Reilly and Steven Stamkos for 3rd most PP goals in the league. Of course, Draisaitl is the Oilers all-time leader in career power play goals with 137.
  • Warren Foegele is set to skate in his 400th career NHL game this afternoon against the Dallas Stars.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Perry
Kane – Nugent-Hopkins – Hyman
Holloway – McLeod – Foegele
Janmark – Ryan – Brown
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Pickard
I believe in you, Calvin Pickard. I hope you slept well.

Stars

Robertson – Hintz – Pavelski
Marchment – Duchene – Seguin
Benn – Johnston – Dellandrea
Faksa – Steel – Smith
Harley – Heiskanen
Lindell – Hakanpaa
Suter – Lundkvist
Oettinger
Do you remember when Jamie Benn won the Art Ross Trophy with 87 points? Weird. I mean, what else is there to say apart from reiterating that the Stars score a lot of goals, and they come from throughout the lineup. Stopping them is going to be a tall order, it’s really as simple as that.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Blackout Dallas:
If you couldn’t watch (Thursday)’s game against the Predators, Lundkvist was checked into the boards hard and left the game. Pete DeBoer talked with the media this morning and mentioned he was experiencing concussion-like symptoms and would be looked at by doctors tomorrow. This was the best-case scenario the Stars could have received. With how hard he was checked into the boards, it looked like he might have broken a rib or two.
Jim is relaxed and not on the phone with multiple GMs this morning because he has veteran defensemen in the AHL. Gavin Bayreuther is 29 years old and has played in the NHL before. He could also bring up Alexander Petrovic, who likes to hit hard and could bring some physical strength that Lundkvist lacks. It’s a blessing in disguise because the guys I mentioned could be plugged into the lineup immediately while Lunkvist recovers.
While all-star defensemen like Chris Tanev and Sean Walker would be solid additions to the Stars’ roster, Nill doesn’t need to make an impulse trade today. Let’s see if their prices go down near the Trade Deadline on March 8th. For now, let’s see how long Lundkvist will be out for and call up someone from the AHL during his recovery. Some fans were questioning why Nill brought in some veteran defensemen for the AHL this season, and this injury proves it. Let’s see how the Stars do on the upcoming road trip before making big decisions that could impact the franchise’s long-term future.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: There’s nothing like celebrating a 4-2 win Oilers in the daylight hours, friends. Prepare your bodies accordingly.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers’ PK gives up another goal as the team continues to search for answers when down a man.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Cody Ceci scored his first goal in 127 games on Tuesday night against Detroit, and it felt so good to score that one that he decided to pick up another this afternoon in the third period against the Stars.

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