Preview | Game Notes | Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison | Line Combos | Injury Report | Set Fantasy Lineup
AT THE OILERS' HOTEL
After arriving at their hotel in Dallas at 2:30 a.m. following last night’s last-minute 4-3 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Edmonton Oilers opted to not skate this morning and instead congregated for lunch at the hotel at noon followed by a brief team meeting.
“You need to know what excellence looks like and feels like,” Oilers head coach Tom Renney said about last night’s game. “I thought we were as close to that as we’ve been, even though we fell behind.”
It was a game that the Oilers battled in throughout and eventually became the first team this season to defeat the Coyotes in regulation despite trailing after 40 minutes.
“You have to be able to get yourself back into a game, and we did that and pushed it right over the top and actually won because of that type of effort.”
The team will not be making any lineup changes save for one in goal – Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start tonight.
“We’re going to go with Khabby tonight and give Devan a break. (Devan) played very well. I just liked the look of him last night,” Renney remarked.
The game marks Khabibulin’s first start since January 20 against Dallas. He also missed the Skills Competition and had several practices off as he’s attempted to rest some nagging injuries.
“He’s been off for a little while here, just sort of maintenance time. We’ve got to make sure that he’s ready to go as well so going into the break we wanted him to get one in.”
Renney contemplated making some other lineup changes but instead decided to go with the 18 skaters that impressed him so much in Phoenix last night.
“I always fight with this – as all coaches do – to make sure guys aren’t out too long. That’s number one and number two is what’s the opponent going to bring that you might want to counter with,” he said. “(However,) I did like our performance last night. My intention is to go with the same lineup.”
HALL OF A LINE
The trio of Shawn Horcoff, Taylor Hall and Dustin Penner has been together for several games now and if last night is any indication, they are starting to hit their stride.
“Horcoff’s distribution of the puck is important because, on one end of it you have Taylor with speed and strength and is fearless going to the net. On the other side you have just a big man that’s so hard to knock off the puck that your puck possession time improves because of that,” Renney noted.
The line combined for five points last night, including the dramatic winner with 22 seconds left to play. Horcoff had two assists.
“I think it helps Shawn’s game. These guys can distribute it as well so it’s not just him who has to be the playmaker. I think you’ll find over time if we can keep this group together that they should have some real success because of their ability – all three – to manage the puck.”
Hall, who had a goal and an assist, talked about the benefits of playing with Horcoff.
“He’s definitely a really good centre to play with. He’s really good in his own end so we don’t spend a lot of time there and you can have good transition, make sure we’re playing on offence because that’s what we want to do,” Hall noted. “Coming back from injury is not easy but he’s done a great job”
Dustin Penner agreed with the rookie winger.
“I think last game – other than that one goal that they scored against us – I think every other shift was in their zone. I thought we created a lot of chances,” Penner said.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
Last 10: Edmonton 3-6-1; Dallas 7-2-1.
Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. Dallas is seeking its third straight win against the Oilers following a pair of victories earlier this month.
Big Story: Prior to the start of the 2010-11 season, few imagined the Dallas Stars would be atop the Pacific Division at the All-Star break. But win or lose Wednesday night, that will be the case as the Stars enter this showdown with the Oilers three points ahead of the second-place Anaheim Ducks.
Oilers: You can say this about Edmonton -- despite a bleak outlook this season, it continues to put up a fight.
Dustin Penner scored with 21 seconds left in regulation and Edmonton got a rare power-play goal to rally for a 4-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday night and end a five-game losing streak.
"We don't get down," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "The one thing we haven't done this year is quit on ourselves, look at the scoreboard and feel sorry for ourselves. We keep playing."
Stars: Dallas has won seven of its past 10 games, but the last two contests have been dreadful. The Stars were blown out in both Calgary and Vancouver, where they were outscored 14-5 in a pair of losses. Dallas dropped a 7-1 decision to the Canucks on Monday night.
"You can't really explain it. Sometimes you have really bad games," Dallas coach Marc Crawford said. "For whatever reason we couldn't find the energy that we needed to play with, and as they started to build confidence the game certainly got away from us. You're going to have nights like that. We know we were stinky tonight, we just have to throw it in the garbage and move forward."
Who's Hot: Oilers rookie Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist Tuesday night. The No. 1 selection from the 2010 Entry Draft now has 16 goals and 14 assists this season. … Stars forward Mike Ribeiro had an 11-game point streak snapped in Vancouver. It was the longest active streak in the League.
Injury Report: For the Oilers, forwards Jordan Eberle (ankle) and Gilbert Brule (upper body) are day-to-day. Ryan Whitney (knee) and Ales Hemsky (concussion) are out.… Stars forward Toby Petersen (leg) is on the IR, while Tom Wandell and Jamie Benn are questionable after suffering undisclosed injuries on Monday.
Stat Pack: Stars forward Loui Eriksson missed last Friday's game at Calgary due to the flu. It snapped his streak of 263 consecutive games, dating back to December 2007.
Puck Drop: "Seven goals is a little bit too much, but we'll stick together. We need to bounce back. We get a win next game, we'll forget about this one. Details of the game hurt us today." -- Stars forward Mike Ribeiro
-- Brian Compton - NHL.com Staff Writer