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Preview: Stars at Oilers

Edmonton aims to end three-game losing streak, keep pace in Pacific Division

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

STARS (27-31-10) at OILERS (35-24-9)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-SW, NHL.TV


Stars team scope

The Dallas Stars enter the second of a four-game road trip sixth in the Central Division and 13 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "We're still going to try and win as many games as we can," forward Jamie Benn said. "It's also fun to play against these playoff teams. Most of the teams that we're going to play from here on out are in a playoff spot [and] are probably almost playoff ready, or if not, they already are." The Stars have lost their past two games, including a 5-1 defeat at the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. "We're not in the place we want to be, obviously, but you have to take a lot of pride in the way you play." coach Lindy Ruff said. "We're going out trying to win every game." Left wing Remi Elie, who scored his first NHL goal at San Jose, will play on the top line. Elie was a linemate of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid at Erie in the Ontario Hockey League in 2014-15. "It's a unique situation with those two going up against each other where they've played together," Ruff said. "That will be a fun tidbit to watch tonight, those two guys. I'm going to try to get them head to head every now and then and see which guy is better."


Oilers team scope

The Oilers will attempt to end a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) in the fifth of an eight-game homestand. Edmonton is fourth in the Pacific Division and holds the first wild card into the playoffs from the West, two points ahead of the Blues and seven in front of the Los Angeles Kings. "It's on us as a team," forward Patrick Maroon said. "We dictate. We can't look at the standings and see that Calgary won or Los Angeles won. We have to do the job. We have to do it in here, we can't hope for other teams to do it for us. My focus and the team's focus around the locker room, everyone knows it, it's on us, no one else. We have to do it." The Oilers, who haven't made the playoffs since 2006, are three points behind the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks for second place in the division. "All the games are pressure-filled right now and it doesn't matter your opponent," coach Todd McLellan said. "I don't think there's any games where you're expected to win. You have to go play to win."


Stars projected lineup

Remi Elie -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Ales Hemsky

Curtis McKenzie -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Adam Cracknell -- Devin Shore -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns

Patrik Nemeth -- Jamie Oleksiak

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Greg Pateryn

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand)


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu -- Anton Slepyshev

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Drake Caggiula, Eric Gryba, Iiro Pakarinen

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (knee)


Status report

Hudler will be a healthy scratch for the fourth consecutive game … Slepyshev returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past four games. He will take Pakarinen's spot on the fourth line. Benning returns to the third defensive pairing after he was a healthy scratch in a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.


Who's hot

Spezza has four goals and three assists in his past six games. Benn has five goals and five assists in his past nine games … McDavid has three goals and five assists in his past eight games.

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