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GDB 74.0: Dancing with the Stars (7:30pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:© Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Does it get any better than two Western Conference favourites going at it in a little mid-week matchup?
Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway.
I don’t know how many of you reading this are old enough to remember all of those playoff battles the Oilers and Stars had back in the late 90s and early 2000s, but for me, those memories don’t fade. More often than not, the Stars ran the show against the Oilers in the playoffs, and seeing their horrible logo as Edmonton’s opponent usually meant an early post-season exit.
Of course, we all remember when Todd Marchant blew past Grant Ledyard in overtime to win the series on a night that was filled with magical moments that I don’t think any of us who were lucky enough to watch it will soon forget. That ’97 series was one of the few highlights from all of those post-season battles, but even the fond memories and passage of 25 years aren’t enough for a young Baggedmilk to ever forget the disdain in my heart for the Dallas Stars.
No matter how much time passes, seeing the Dallas Stars logo on the calendar is enough to leave a sour taste in my mouth, and there is no win I ever want more than to see our beloved Oilers come out on top over the team that ruined so many springs in my youth. Even though beating the Stars only gives us two points in the standings, it may as well be three points in my heart. Sure, one might suggest that carrying such a grudge is generally pointless in my 39th year on the planet, but I would tend to disagree.
If anything, hating the Stars has prepared me for life. I think despising that team for this long has taught me about commitment. I think it’s taught me about passion. I think my fiery hatred of the Stars has taught me that no matter what happens in life, I will always be loyal to our boys, which is an admirable quality in my opinion. I guess you could say that the Dallas Stars have taught me a lot.
As for the task at hand, this isn’t one of those games when the Oilers can ease their way in. Coming into the rubber match, the Stars sit at second place in the NHL for goals scored, and our side will have to be wary that all four of their lines can contribute. The Stars have seven players with 20 goals or more, and it won’t be long until Jamie Benn gives them an eighth. My point here is that puck management will be crucial for Edmonton if they’re going to prevent the Stars from setting a franchise record with an eighth straight win.
The Oilers struggled with moving the puck effectively against the Blues on Monday, and they’ll need to clean that up tonight at the American Airlines Center. In their last 10 games, the Stars have a sparkling 8-2-0 record and have outscored their opponents 43 to 17, which is bad news if you’re sloppy with the puck. By no means am I a coach or anything, but numbers like those tell me that the boys will be better off trying to keep things simple instead of getting too cute with the puck.
Let’s see what the numbers say.

THE NUMBERS

OILERSSTARS
RECORD45-23-547-19-9
WIN/LOSS STREAKL1W7
LAST 10 GAMES6-2-28-2-0
GOALS FOR264276
GOALS AGAINST209220
POWER PLAY%27.524.0
PENALTY KILL%79.681.5
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.831.5
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST28.428.8
TEAM SAVE%.916.910
CORSI FOR%55.2452.96
PDO1.0021.006
TEAM SHOOTING%8.679.55
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%56.9654.59
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Even with the 3-2 overtime loss in St. Louis to the Blues on Monday night, they have now picked up points in 4 straight games (3-0-1) and in 15 of their last 18 games (12-3-3).
  • Leon Draisaitl is currently sporting an eight-game point streak where he’s amassed 13 points (6G, 7A). This point streak also happens to be his longest of the season. Draisaitl is also one goal shy of passing Glenn Anderson for the thirrd most 40-goal seasons in franchise history with his 5th. In case you were wondering, Gretzky (9) and Kurri (7) rank 1st and 2nd on the all-time list.
  • Connor McDavid’s 97 assists are the most by a player since the 1992-93 season when Adam Oates of the Boston Bruins had 97 in 84 games. McDavid is only three helpers away from becoming the fourth player in NHL history to register 100 assists in a single season.
  • Mattias Ekholm is riding a five-game point streak where he’s added eight to his tally (2G, 6A) and has 15 points (5G, 10A) over his last 10 games. Ekholm’s +41 plus/minus rating is good for seconnd best in the NHL, trailing only Gustav Forsling (+46) of the Florida Panthers.

GAME DAY ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Henrique – Draisaitl – Perry
Kane – McLeod – Foegele
Janmark – Carrick – Brown
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
Pickard
I was curious to see if Knoblauch would have the line blender out again after a weird night in St. Louis to start the week. It was one of those games where the silver linings were limited, and I was curious to see if Knobby would let the boys try and work through it or if he’d spin them around again as a means of looking for the perfect combination.
As it turns out, according to Jack Michaels, the Oilers will be running with the same line combos as we saw in St. Louis with the sole exception that Calvin Pickard will be starting in net. Pickard beat the Stars in Dallas back on February 16th, and we’ll have to hope that he can do it again tonight to close out a series win.

Stars

Robertson – Hintz – Pavelski
Marchment – Duchene – Seguin
Benn – Johnston – Stankoven
Faksa – Steel – Smith
Harley – Heiskanen
Lindell – Tanev
Suter – Lundkvist
Oettinger
If you head over to the Stars’ stats page, the first thing that sticks out is how many goals they’re getting from throughout the lineup. If we assume that our top six can saw things off with theirs, the difference in this game could end up as who gets more offence from their depth players, and in that specific metric, the Stars have our number right now. The Oilers will likely need a depth goal or two if they’re going to get back themselves back in the win column.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From DallasNews.com:
When the Stars extended their win streak to a franchise-long seven games Saturday night against the Seattle Kraken, there was a cloud hanging over their heads due to an injury to defenseman Chris Tanev in the third period.
But the team received good news Tuesday, as Tanev participated in practice in a full capacity. He will be an option for Wednesday’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers.
“He skated. He looks good, so we’ll see,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said. “You always withhold all your lineup decisions until tomorrow. You get to this time of year, and a lot of guys are dealing with little things.”
The Stars’ trade deadline acquisition left the 3-0 win against Seattle less than 20 seconds into the third period after his right arm was trapped along the boards following a hit by Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson. Larsson was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
Tanev went straight down the tunnel after the hit. He briefly returned to the ice later in the period but was unable to finish the game.
DeBoer said Tanev would have further tests done Sunday and Monday, which ultimately showed he was ready by the Stars’ first practice back. He was the first player on the ice Tuesday morning.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: It’s a big game and the perfect time for the Oilers to come up with a 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Toss two more assists on the McPile, as McDavid gets to 99 helpers on the season.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Am I allowed to call for a Corey Perry revenge game goal? Gord knows how often they seem to happen against the Oilers, so why not against the Stars?

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