Preview: Oilers at Stars
EDMONTON OILERS (29-24-4) at
DALLAS STARS (28-21-7)
Start Time: 6:38 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Stars Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
LINE-UP UPDATE: Marc Pouliot is expected to be out and Jean-Francois Jacques likely is in on the fourth line, marking Jacques' first NHL appearance since suffering a back injury last season.
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Edmonton Oilers wrap up a four-game tour of the Pacific Division tonight in a crucial Western Conference match-up against the Dallas Stars.
Edmonton currently sits in eighth spot in the Western Conference at 62 points but a win tonight could vault them into a tie for fifth with the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets pending the results of tonight's other games.
The Oilers lost 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night - right on the heels of a 3-1 victory against Phoenix Monday. Edmonton has now won three of its last four games.
Dallas is the seventh-place team right now at 63 points. The Stars have surged up the standings thanks to a strong January. In particular, Dallas has won 9 of its last 12 games and 8 of 11 since the All-Star break.
In their last game, the Stars edged out the Blue Jackets 3-2 in a shootout. Just prior to that, the Chicago Blackhawks doused the Stars with a 6-2 win. This game kicks off a season-high six-game homestand for the Stars.
This is the final meeting of the season between the two clubs. The Oilers won the previous two meetiings - both at Rexall Place. The Stars were victorious earlier this season when the two teams met in Dallas.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Tom Gilbert
has a two-game assist streak during which he has registered four helpers... Gilbert is tied for 11th in the NHL in blueline scoring with 34 points and fifth in the League in assists with 31... Sheldon Souray
ranks second in the NHL in goals by a defenceman behind Washingotn's Mike Green with 15. He's also 10th with 36 points... J.F. Jacques could make his season debut with the Oilers tonight after being recalled from Springfield of the AHL yesterday. In eight games with the Falcons, Jacques scored a goal and five assists for six points. He was even +/- with 13 penalty minutes and his goal was scored on the powerplay.
STARS TO WATCH:
Loui Erikkson leads the Stars with 27 goals so far this season. His previous career high was 14, set last season in 69 games... Defenceman and Edmonton native Darryl Sydor has 25 assists and 29 points in 61 career games against the Oilers... Goaltender Marty Turco has a 16-6-0 record with a 2.30 goals-against average and three shutouts in his career against the Oilers. He is also 8-3-0 with a 1.78 GAA since the all-star break.... Mike Modano has played 64 career games against Edmonton and leads the Stars all-time in goals (33), assists (42) and points (75) versus the Oilers. Jere Lehtinen has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 37 games all-time against Edmonton.
Edmonton—Denis Grebeshkov (high ankle sprain) is out. Lubomir Visnovsky (torn labrum) is out; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Dallas—Brenden Morrow (torn ACL) is out. Sergei Zubov (hip) is out. Brad Richards (broken wrist) is out. Landon Wilson (upper body) is day-to-day.
Dallas is second-last in the NHL in shorthanded goals with only two all season long... The Stars have a record of 17-7-3 since mid-December...Dallas enters tonight's contest having won 10 of their past 13 meetings with Edmonton (10-3-0). The Stars won all four games against the Oilers last season but this year Edmonton has taken two of three. The Stars' only victory this season was here in Dallas... Since 1996-97, Dallas has gone 34-9-4 against Edmonton, including a 19-3-1 mark on home ice. The Stars' record against Edmonton since relocating to Dallas in 1993 (43-11-5) is the club's third-best among all NHL opponents in terms of winning percentage.
Oilers recall J.F. Jacques from Springfield
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have recalled left wing J.F. Jacques from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. ...more
The Other Side - news from dallasstars.com
- Stars begin six-game homestand - The Stars face Edmonton on Thursday, the first game of a season-long six-game home stand. Dallas has been one of the better teams over the last two months, something that will need to continue if the team is to remain in the playoff race. ...more
- Richards to miss 6-8 weeks - The Dallas Stars announced today that center Brad Richards will be placed on Injured Reserve with a distal radius fracture in his right wrist, suffered in the club’s 3-2 shootout win last night at Columbus. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Ask an Oiler: Send your questions in to Ladislav Smid - Ladislav Smid will be next week's guest on Ask an Oiler. He will be answering questions submitted by you, the fans! Follow the link to send a question in to the Oilers' defenceman. ...more
- The LINK: Get to know Nilsson and Pisani - In this edition of The Link, we get to know Oilers forwards Robert Nilsson and Fernando Pisani a little better and also sit down with assistant coach Kelly Buchberger for some coaching tips. Follow the link to watch the show. ...more
- This or That? With Erik Cole - Things aren't always black and white, but we made Erik Cole choose Option A or Option B on a variety of topics, including precipitation, footwear, and winter sports (other than hockey, of course). ...more
- Horcoff, Penner & Brodziak's Favourite Things - Golf with Kyle Brodziak, listen to Dustin Penner's favourite tunes, or get your hands on a brand new Shawn Horcoff-approved Nintendo DS. These items and more are up for bid in Saturday's Oilers Favourite Things auction! ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The Dallas Stars have been moving up in the crowded Western Conference standings with their strong play since the All-Star break.
Continuing that surge and locking down their sixth straight playoff appearance could be tough without Brad Richards.
After losing their second-leading scorer to a fractured wrist, the Stars go for their ninth win in 12 games when they host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Dallas (28-21-7) has gone 8-3-0 since Jan. 25, a hot streak that has put it in the thick of a competitive playoff race in the West. The Stars are in seventh place with 63 points, one behind than Vancouver and Columbus, but just eight more than three teams that are tied for fewest in the conference.
Emerging from that tight race will be a little more challenging if the Stars don't have Richards, who was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.
Richards had four goals and five assists in 11 games since the break. He's third on the club with 16 goals, second with 32 assists and 48 points and first with 179 shots.
But Richards was hurt in the Stars' 3-2 shootout win at Columbus on Monday. He scored 27 seconds into the game before taking a hard check midway through the second period. He won't need surgery, but is still expected to miss six to eight weeks.
After Richards' departure, forward Loui Eriksson notched his team-high 27th goal to tie the score in the second and rookie forward James Neal gave Dallas the win with the only shootout tally.
"You want to step up. You want to be a big player and contribute," said Neal, who is second among rookies with 18 goals. "I want to be a guy who can put the puck in the net in big situations."
Neal may get more opportunities while Richards is sidelined.
"It was a big loss once Richy got hurt, but guys had to pick up the slack once he went out," he told the Stars' official Web site. "We have had injuries all year, and we'll fight through it."
Edmonton (29-24-4) hopes to take advantage of Richards' injury, as it's one point behind Dallas in the West.
The Oilers didn't help their cause with a 4-2 road loss to San Jose that snapped their three-game winning streak Tuesday. They gave up three goals in a fight-filled second period, including a short-handed go-ahead tally.
"We're disappointed, but proud of the way we played," defenseman Steve Staios said. "Our work effort was great coming off a back-to-back. There were a couple of mental things that hung us up."
The Oilers lost their first meeting with the Stars this season to extend their winless streak in the series to seven games. But they've won the clubs' last two matchups, 5-2 on Dec. 3 and 4-1 on Jan. 3.
Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson is 1-3-0 with two ties and a 3.24 goals-against average in nine career games in Dallas, where the Oilers are 0-3-1 in their last four.
The Stars' Marty Turco, who's 8-3-0 with a 1.78 GAA since the break, came into the season 15-4-0 with a 2.09 GAA lifetime against the Oilers. He's 1-2-0 with a 3.68 GAA against them in 2008-09.