Oilers open 2009 against the Dallas Stars tonight
DALLAS STARS (16-15-5) at
EDMONTON OILERS (17-16-3)
Start Time: 8:08 p.m. MST
Television: CBC (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Stars Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
Photo by Andy Devlin Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Edmonton Oilers New Years Eve and penalty kill woes continued last Wednesday in Calgary as they ended 2008 on a sour note—a 6-4 loss that included three Calgary power play goals.
With 2008 in the books, the Edmonton Oilers (17-16-3) have a brand new year to hone their game and their first test of 2009 will be against the Dallas Stars (16-15-5) tonight at Rexall Place.
Edmonton hasn’t been stellar at home this season going 6-6-3 in 15 games at Rexall Place, the fewest home games in the league.
Dallas and Edmonton are tied with 37 points and are among six teams within three points of eighth place in the Western Conference as of Jan. 1.
The Stars had a good December that saw them jump out of the Western Conference basement to join the pack fighting for eighth in the West. Dallas has won five out of their last seven games and beat New Jersey 4-2 on New Years Eve.
The season series is tied 1-1 with both teams taking the home game. Edmonton won 5-2 in the last meeting on Dec. 3. Before that game, Edmonton hadn’t beat Dallas at home since Jan. 20, 2004.
Tonight’s game is the first of a five-game homestand for Edmonton. The Oilers will next host the New York Islanders on Monday.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Robert Nilsson played his first game since some minor criticism from Coach Craig MacTavish. He scored a goal—his first since Dec. 13—Wednesday vs. Calgary and was a +3 on the night...Sam Gagner
had two assists Wednesday vs. the Flames and is finding himself increasingly on the scoresheet...Sheldon Souray
has gone pointless in two games but is tied for second on the team with 26 points and second in goals with 11. Souray’s powerplay shot is key for the Oilers.
STARS TO WATCH:
Brad Richards leads the Stars with 34 points and had three assists on Dec. 31 vs. New Jersey. Richards has eight points in his last five games...Loui Eriksson has eight goals in his last seven games and 20 goals on the season...Mike Modano scored two goals in the last meeting. He’s been successful against the Oilers in his career scoring 33-42-75 in 63 games.
(mild concussion) is out; Marc Pouliot (mild concussion) is out; Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Dallas—Fabian Brunnstrom (lower body) is out; Joel Lundqvist (shoulder) is out; Sergei Zubov (hip) is out; Brenden Morrow (torn ACL) is out.
FAST FACTS: Sheldon Souray
is tied for second in the league in goals scored by a defenceman (11)...Souray is also third in the league in Shots on Goal with 114...The Stars have two rookies in the top six in rookie scoring: James Neal is tied for second with 12 goals and Fabian Brunnstrom is tied for sixth with 10 goals... Tonight’s game, the first of nine home games in January, opens a five-game homestand for the Oilers that runs from January 3rd to 11th with a game at Rexall Place every other night for the next nine days…following tonight’s tilt with the Stars, the Oilers will host the NY Islanders (Jan. 5), Vancouver (Jan. 7), San Jose (Jan. 9) and St. Louis (Jan. 11)…the five-game homestand is not the longest of the season for the Oilers…Edmonton’s longest homestand is a six-game affair from January 18th to February 3rd…tonight's game is the third of four meetings between the Oilers and Stars this season and the second of two visits to Edmonton by Dallas…the seasonal series is tied at one win apiece following the Oilers 4-3 loss at Dallas on November 30th and a 5-2 Edmonton win at Rexall Place on Dec. 3rd…the teams will conclude the seasonal series at Dallas on February 19th…the Oilers are 1-3-4 in its last eight games versus the Stars at Rexall Place...Edmonton ended a seven-game winless streak (0-3-4) with their 5-2 win over Dallas on Dec. 3rd…prior to that victory, Edmonton’s last home win over Dallas was a 3-0 victory on Jan. 20, 2004.
Hemsky, Pouliot injury updates and more
- The Oilers returned to the ice for the first time in 2009 on Friday in preparation for a meeting with the Dallas Stars Saturday night. We spoke with a number of players, including injury updates on both Ales Hemsky
and Marc Pouliot. ...more
The Other Side - news from www.dallasstars.com
- Sutherby settling in - Center Brian Sutherby seems to have come to Dallas at just the right time. Dallas is 3-1-0 so far with him in the lineup, including a 4-3 overtime win over his former team less than two weeks after the trade. ...more
- Stars recall Chris Conner - The Dallas Stars announced Thursday that the NHL club has recalled left wing Chris Conner from the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL. Conner, 25, has posted 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points in 25 games with Peoria this season... ...more
- Taking positives into 2009 - With 2008 quickly coming to an end and 2009 fast approaching in the rearview mirror, the Dallas Stars have many good things to take out of the past few weeks and bring with them into the New Year. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- 2008 Oilers Year in Review - Dan Tencer of 630 CHED talked about the year that was for the Edmonton Oilers. Follow the link to listen to the audio piece. LISTEN
- Oilers comment on helmets and fighting - Whitby Dunlops defenceman Don Sanderson passed away early Friday morning due to head trauma suffered after his helmet came off in a fight during a senior hockey game on December 12 in Brantford, Ontario. ...more
- How well do you know Sheldon Souray? - In this edition of the Best of The Link, see how Sheldon Souray handled his co-hosting duties and how his teammates scored in Souray 101. Also, re-live the Oilers pre-season trip to Jasper and see how Rexall Place ice is made. ...more
- Download your January wallpaper today! - A new year is upon us and with that comes new wallpaper. Follow the link to download a variety of different wallpapers for the month of January. Happy New Year! ...more
From the Wire (AP)
A rare strong game on special teams helped the Dallas Stars get out of last place. A matchup with the Edmonton Oilers would give any team a good chance to build some momentum on the power play.
The Stars, playing well in recent weeks, look to take advantage of a porous Oilers penalty kill unit when the teams continue their season series Saturday night.
Dallas (16-15-5) is 5-1-1 after losing three of its previous five and climbed out of last place in the Pacific Division with a win in its last game, leapfrogging Los Angeles after beating New Jersey 4-2 on Wednesday night.
The Stars have 37 points, one better than the Kings.
Dallas has struggled on special teams all season, stopping 77.3 percent of its opponents' power-play chances while taking advantage of only 15.0 percent of its own. Against the Devils, though, the Stars got a pair of special-teams goals and killed three of four power plays.
Loui Eriksson gave Dallas its first short-handed goal of the season, finding the back of the net in the first period. The Stars were one of four teams that had yet to score a short-handed goal.
"It's been a lot of games without one," Eriksson said. "It was nice to finally get one."
Edmonton (17-16-3) has been terrible against the man advantage, killing off 73.6 percent of its opponents' opportunities. The Oilers, last in the Northwest Division, allowed three power-play goals in a 6-4 loss at Calgary on Wednesday night.
"That's killed us all year long. We've got to find a way or find some new guys who can kill penalties," coach Craig MacTavish said.
At home, the Oilers have been even worse, with opponents capitalizing on 29.5 percent of their power-play chances.
Now, after one of its worst defensive performances of the season, Edmonton will try to find a way to stop Eriksson and Dallas. Eriksson also scored an empty-net goal against New Jersey, giving him a team-high 20 on the season.
"His all-around play has been phenomenal," Dallas winger Steve Ott said. "He's easily our MVP horse right now. We were a cellar team three weeks ago and now we're looking ahead and not behind."
Eriksson has eight goals in his last seven games, but has found the back of the net once in nine contests against Edmonton.
Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky, who has two goals and an assist in two games against the Stars this season, has missed two straight games with a broken nose and is listed as day-to-day. He leads Edmonton with 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists).
The Oilers had little trouble scoring against the Flames, with Denis Grebeshkov tallying a goal and three assists. Robert Nilsson, Lubomir Visnovsky and Eric Cole also scored for Edmonton, while Sam Gagner had two assists.
Edmonton, though, has lost two straight after winning three in a row.