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Preview: Oilers at Stars

Patrick Sharp returns from concussion for Dallas; Matt Hendricks, Kris Russell back in Edmonton lineup

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

OILERS (9-8-1) at STARS (7-6-5)

7 p.m. ET; CITY, FS-SW+, NHL.TV 


Oilers team scope

The Edmonton Oilers will make several lineup changes Saturday, when they look to end a five-game losing streak after a 9-3-1 start. Forward Matt Hendricks will make his season debut after missing the first 18 games of the season with a lower-body injury; defenseman Kris Russell will play for the first time after missing seven games with a lower-body injury, sustained against the New York Rangers on Nov. 3; and rookie forward Drake Caggiula was activated off injured reserve and will make his NHL debut. "It should provide an energy boost, it should give us a different look and it should create a competitive environment within the team for ice time," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. McLellan said the Oilers have high expectations for Caggiula, who played the past four seasons at the University of North Dakota. Captain Connor McDavid hasn't scored a goal in 10 games after scoring five in his first eight games. McDavid is expected to play with Jesse Puljujärvi on his right wing again after McLellan mixed up the lines against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to start. 


Stars team scope

Left wing Patrick Sharp is in the Dallas Stars lineup for the first time since sustaining a concussion against the Kings on Oct. 20. "I feel pretty good," said Sharp, who missed 14 games. "I feel good. I feel healthy. I feel strong, ready to get back out there and play." Center Cody Eakin will play in his second game after making his season debut against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, when he won 15 of 23 faceoffs. "I thought his minutes were good the other night, I thought he did a lot of good things inside the game," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "But I thought in some situations he wasn't up to speed." Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to start after making 32 saves in a 3-2 win against the Avalanche. 


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Jesse Puljujärvi

Leon Draisaitl -- Drake Caggiula -- Jordan Eberle

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Anton Slepyshev

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Matthew Benning

Darnell Nurse -- Kris Russell

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Benoit Pouliot, Eric Gryba, Tyler Pitlick  

Injured: Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Brandon Davidson (lower body), Mark Fayne (undisclosed)


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel -- Cody Eakin -- Jason Spezza

Patrick Sharp -- Radek Faksa -- Lauri Korpikoski

Devin Shore -- Adam Cracknell -- Brett Ritchie

Dan Hamhuis -- John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya -- Stephen Johns

Patrik Nemeth -- Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi  

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Curtis McKenzie

Injured: Jiri Hudler (illness), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)


Status report

Hudler, fighting a viral infection Ruff has described as a mystery, began started exercising this week for the first time since October. … Pouliot will miss his first game this season. 


Who's hot

Eaves has five goals and one assist during a four-game point streak, the longest of his NHL career. … Seguin, who has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists), is tied for the League lead in assists with McDavid and Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf. Seguin has seven assists in his past five games. … Maroon has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past eight games. 

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