Preview | Game Notes | Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison | Depth Chart | Injury Report | Set Your Fantasy Lineup
AT THE MORNING SKATE:
With two forwards -- Ryan Jones (coming off a knee injury) and call-up Charles Linglet -- joining the gameday roster Friday, all eyes were on the morning skate line combinations to see which forwards would sit out the game.
Unlike in Thursday's practice, when Ethan Moreau and Patrick O'Sullivan were relegated to the blueline, Robert Nilsson and O'Sullivan were left off the forward lines Friday morning.
Head coach Pat Quinn later confirmed that unless a recent resurgence of the flu intensifies today, he expects those two to sit out.
"It won't be for the long run necessarily -- it'll be for tonight and our evaluations of the two different players coming in (Jones and Linglet) will continue," he explained. "It is now in that process of trying to nail down who's going to be part of us as we go forward."
The decision to sit out Nilsson and O'Sullivan wasn't a simple one, Quinn added.
"I had seven names circled with sub-par performance from Detroit and maybe a few other games beyond that. Two are coming in and two are coming out of those seven, and at the end of the day, it's not arbitrary necessarily but I could have taken any one of five more guys and been able to justify not playing them tonight."
AHL VET MAKES NHL DEBUT
Although two Oilers are certainly unhappy about the situation, the team's newest addition -- Linglet -- is thrilled. After seven seasons in the AHL, the 27-year-old winger will make his NHL debut tonight in Dallas.
"Finally a dream come true tonight, my first game in the NHL, and I'm super excited," Linglet said after the skate. "We had a tough year over there but I stick to it, I battled through it, and this is how they reward me. It's nice to know other players can look at it and say 'Hey, you know what, if he did it, I can do it.'"
Although the call-up comes seven years into his pro hockey career, Linglet says the key to finally making the NHL was working hard and staying focused.
"I play hockey for a living and it's the best job ever," he explained. "I came in every day, AHL deal or not, I just came in to try to be a pro out there, try to work hard and do things right, and they gave me an opportunity because of it."
Quinn isn't expecting flashiness from the forward but rather steadiness with the puck and a solid effort.
"He's been a journeyman sort of player for a while who was putting up some numbers on a not very good team right now," Quinn said. "Because of those numbers and the way he's continued to play hard for that team there, he has warranted an opportunity. It's one of those good stories about guys sticking to their knitting and maybe you get a chance somewhere.
"What I expect out of him tonight is a nervous hockey player that is getting to play his first NHL game," the coach continued. "For him, it's just keep it simple, show us what your assets are, and maybe some good things will happen."
DUBNYK DECIDES TO STAY IN GOAL AFTERALL
Despite faulty (yet hilarious!) April 1st reports that Devan Dubnyk would play center tonight in Dallas, the goalie confirmed that he will be starting the game in his usual spot: between the pipes.
Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers have been alternating starts this road trip, and the 23-year-old rookie is looking forward to another opportunity to learn, improve, and register his third NHL win.
"I think the most important thing is that there's only a few games left and to take every opportunity to try to continue to build on the good things that I've been doing the last couple of games," Dubnyk said. "You just keep learning things and keep getting more comfortable in these last few games here."
WATCH THE GAME
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Molson Canadian Oilers Pay Per View.
OILERS (24-45-7) at STARS (34-29-14)
Last 10: Edmonton 3-5-2; Dallas 5-4-1
Season series: Though the Oilers are ticketed for a last-place finish, they've won two of three from the Stars, both in shootouts -- 5-4 on Oct. 6 and 3-2 in their last visit to American Airlines Center on Dec. 5. The Stars won 4-3 on Jan. 22 at Edmonton in the only game that was decided in regulation.
Big story: The Oilers are playing for next season -- they're already assured of finishing last in the overall standings, meaning they will draft no lower than second. The Stars' playoff hopes are still flickering -- with 82 points, they're seven behind eighth-place Colorado with just five games to play. But Dallas isn't giving up, as it showed on Wednesday in a 5-1 thumping of conference-leading San Jose.
Oilers: The Oilers are on the way to the worst season in franchise history, but they haven't quit. Edmonton trailed 4-0 at Detroit on Tuesday before rallying for four goals to tie the game -- only to lose with 67 seconds left on a deflection by Wings defenseman Brad Stuart that was ruled to be below the crossbar -- just barely.
"We generated some offense after we fell behind by three goals," said center Mike Comrie, who had a goal during the comeback. "It wasn't the start we wanted. But you gotta keep playing hard. We stuck with it."
But in the end, it was just another road loss for the Oilers -- their League-high 25th in regulation, against only eight wins.
Stars: Though their playoff hopes are almost gone, the Stars aren't waving the white flag just yet -- as they showed in their resounding victory over the Sharks. They may be running out of time, but not out of pride.
"We've got a lot of pride in this dressing room," said forward Steve Ott, who had his first NHL hat trick against the Sharks. "We might not make the playoffs, or it's pretty unrealistic right now, but to finish with character and finish with pride, I think means more than anything."
Who's hot: Edmonton defenseman Tom Gilbert is coming off a two-goal night in Detroit. Andrew Cogliano has 10 points in 10 games, including a pair of assists against the Wings. … Ott, who scored at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded, has matched his career high with 19 goals. He also had 19 last season. Loui Eriksson, who leads Dallas with 29 goals after scoring the winner against the Sharks, has 10 points in his last nine games.
Injury report: The Oilers have seven players gone for the season, but could get forward Ryan Jones (right knee) back for this game. Sam Gagner is also day-to-day with a hip injury. … Dallas’ Mike Modano hopes to return after undergoing an appendectomy on March 16.
Stat pack: The Stars were among the NHL's best shootout teams -- until this season. Dallas leads the League with 10 shootout losses, and Marty Turco is 0-5 in shootouts at home. … Edmonton goaltender Jeff Deslauriers has lost 13 of his last 14 starts away from Rexall Place.
Puck drop: There may not be much at skate for either team, but that won't matter to 27-year-old Charlie Linglet, a seven-year minor-league vet who was called up from AHL Springfield by the Oilers and is expected to make his NHL debut on Friday.
"Those are the good stories, about a guy that's been grinding it out (in the AHL) and has continued to improve and has got a lot of points on a not very good hockey team in Springfield," coach Pat Quinn said. "Here's a young man that has certainly put some numbers on the board, enough that when we were talking about where our future is, he's one of the guys they want to look at at this level."
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com