The Edmonton Oilers kick off a four-game road trip tonight in Dallas on the heels of an impressive 9-2 victory over the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
"No, we can't," said Renney when asked if the team can ease up after a big win Saturday. "They had a very, very good start to the season. I think we need to continue to work on our game. We've been really good at times this year and then we haven't been very good, too. It's about consistency and in order to embrace that you have to pay attention to your own game."
The Stars started out the season on fire at 11-3-0 but have dropped each of their last five games. They've struggled, too, allowing 21 goals over those five games -- 16 goals against in the last 10 periods of play alone.
"We know these guys are in a bit of a skid but by no means should you take any team lightly," cautioned Ryan Smyth
. He added that the team needs to play a simple game in order to have success -- the kind of game they played earlier on in the year.
"I thought we played a good solid 60 minutes at home against Chicago. When you do that, you get the result we did."
gets the start in goal once again for the Oilers.
FOURTH LINE SHUFFLE
Despite the big win, Oilers head coach Tom Renney has decided to shake up the fourth line.
"Everybody played well enough to keep playing, no question about that," said Renney.
draws back into the lineup along with Darcy Hordichuk
. Magnus Paajarvi
and Ben Eager
will sit this one out.
"We've got Hordy now to the point where he can play, and needs to," Renney said of the insertion of Hordichuk back in the lineup for the first time since he injured his knee on October 15. "I think it might be one of those nights where we need all of our penalty killers, not just four or five or anything less than six so the bottom line is I need to get (Petrell) back in the lineup to do that and add a physical element to our game."
That physical element is key against a Dallas team that can be a bit rough-and-tumble.
"We need a physical presence. We need a forecheck. We need to make sure we're on the body as much as we can," Renney continued. "We need to make sure it's contagious throughout our lineup."
For Hordichuk, the head coach wants him to play a simple game first and foremost beyond the physical element he's sure to bring.
"The trick there is be smart, have good timing and be a player first."
As for Petrell, with Sheldon Souray on the other team he may be in the line of fire the first few times he goes down to block one of his patented rockets from the point.
"We haven't told him anything about that other guy," Renney chuckled. "We're trying to keep that quiet. 'Just block those shots Pet.'"
After a tumultuous time in the Oilers organization, Souray will face his old team for the first time. However, the blueliner is just treating this like another game.
"It's just a regular game day so there's no problem talking. We're just focusing here tonight. It's a big game for us. We're needing the points. We're in a little bit of a tailspin here," Souray began.
"Edmonton wasn't the first team I played for. It's been a couple years since I played there. It's just a regular game for us. It's been awhile since I've been an Oiler. Just trying to focus on tonight and what we have to do here."
Souray has done well with the Stars, putting up four goals and 13 points in 19 games so far with a +9 rating. He ranks first on the team among defencemen and third overall.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
NHL.COM GAME PREVIEW
Edmonton 5-5-0; Dallas 4-6-0
This is the first of four meetings between the two teams. Last year, Dallas beat Edmonton three times in a span of 15 days (Jan. 11-26), but Edmonton got the last laugh in the fourth meeting with a 4-1 win.
On Saturday night, the Oilers made the Chicago Blackhawks look like an AHL team with a 9-2 shelling. The nine goals were the most scored by Edmonton in 15 years. Down in Dallas, the Stars lost their fifth straight, a 4-1 decision to San Jose. Dallas will try to reverse fortunes as it welcomes new owner Tom Gaglardi to the American Airlines Center.
While Saturday's rout looked impressive, the Oilers could have used some of those goals in previous games. Coming in against Chicago, Edmonton had lost four straight and looked in danger of falling by the wayside once again. If anything, Saturday proved that the kids are, in fact, all right. Taylor Hall
snapped a nine-game goalless drought with his second career hat trick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
had an astounding 5 assists and Jordan Eberle
added 1 goal and 3 helpers.
"It definitely gives us confidence," Hall said. "It's great we won all three periods. It's easy to let off the gas pedal, but we didn't."
New owner Gaglardi, who was approved by a Delaware court and the NHL Board of Governors for the sale late last week, walks into a bit of a troublesome situation at the moment. While Dallas has been renovating the front office, the product on the ice has been in need of improvement lately. That lone goal against San Jose on Saturday night? It broke a 194-minute scoring drought. Dallas would need to combine its last six games to match Edmonton's goal output from Saturday. The Stars are looking down the barrel of six regulation losses for the first time since Dec. 5-15, 1995.
"We're in a hole, there's no question about it, and you can't just jump out of a hole this deep, you have to kind of dig your way up and dig your way out, and I thought we were moving in that direction," coach Glen Gulutzan said.
Lost among the baby-faced assassins are those players on the Oilers benefiting from their youthful vigor -- players like fifth-year blueliner Tom Gilbert
, who more than doubled his point total with 1 goal and 3 assists against Chicago.
Edmonton defenseman Corey Potter
(sprained ankle) will miss a month and fellow d-man Andy Sutton
(groin) is out two weeks. Cam Barker
(left ankle), Ryan Whitney
(sprained right knee), Darcy Hordichuk
(knee) and Taylor Fedun
(broken right femur) are all on injured reserve. … Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski will miss 3-4 weeks with a broken thumb, while winger Adam Burish is out a month with a broken hand.
Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen still leads the League with 11 wins, despite going 0-3-0 with a 3.78 GAA in his last three outings. Lehtonen still owns a perfect home mark -- 3-0-0 with 98 saves on 104 shots -- against Edmonton since 2009.
"I know the fans and the organization are relieved that this period of uncertainty is over. The team has established a solid foundation, and I am looking forward to working with (new team president and CEO) Jim Lites and (general manager) Joe Nieuwendyk, who I have always admired and think is doing a superb job, to re-ignite fan enthusiasm for this club." --Gaglardi on his first order of business in Dallas.