EDMONTON - Rexall Place in Edmonton has become something of a home away from home for the Dallas Stars.
Brenden Morrow led the way with a goal and an assist as the Stars won their seventh consecutive game in Edmonton, taking sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a 4-1 victory over the Oilers on Friday night.
After being outshot 17-5 in the first period, the Stars admit they were lucky to still be in the contest, down just 1-0.
"We've come in here and had some crazy games here and we've got some fortunate wins," said Dallas head coach Dave Tippett.
"After that first period you would have thought that it would be a struggle for us to get points but we found a way. I didn't even know that (winning in Edmonton) streak was in play so that's how much we think about that."
Added Dallas golatnder Marty Turco: "For some reason we still came out pretty lacklustre. We came out of that period barely unscathed and it set us up and gave us a chance to win the game and that we did and ultimately that's what's important."
Stephane Robidas, Steve Ott and Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Stars (30-20-5), who won their second in a row to move two points ahead of San Jose in the Pacific and into second place overall in the Western Conference.
It was the second loss in a row for the Oilers (23-26-5), who continue to make a potential playoff run more difficult for themselves.
"It was a tough one," said Oiler forward Marty Reasoner. "Especially with our backs against the wall the way they are right now. It was a must win game for us. We know how important these games are for us at home. We have to be able to find a way to tie that game back up and go ahead. It was pretty frustrating.
Although the result wasn't the one the team had hoped for, Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish felt the effort was much better than in their previous shutout loss to San Jose.
"We basically got what we wanted out of the team except for the finish," he said. "We had lots of opportunities. I thought we played all right. It was a disappointing loss."
Edmonton got on the board first just five minutes in after a mad scramble in front of the Dallas net and a flurry of shots on Turco before Zack Stortini was able to pick up a loose puck and wrist home just his second goal of the season.
Edmonton had 17 first period shots, four more then they had in their entire previous game, a 3-0 shutout loss to San Jose on Tuesday. Dallas only managed to put five shots on Oiler starter Dwayne Roloson in the opening 20 minutes.
However, Dallas knotted the game seven minutes into the middle frame as Mike Ribeiro connected on a backhand pass to Morrow at the left circle and he blasted a one-timer that beat Roloson to the glove side.
The Stars took the lead three and a half minutes later just as a two-man advantage had expired as Ribeiro made a long cross-ice feed to Robidas and he rocketed a shot into the empty net to put Dallas ahead 2-1 heading into the third.
"We got a lot of good looks at the net, didn't get the bounce that we needed but we created some momentum when we had them penned in their zone for quite a bit of time and it was only a matter of time," said Morrow of cracking the game open in the second.
The Stars got some insurance just past the mid-mark of the third moving the puck around ably on the power play before yet another one-timer goal, this one coming from Jokinen. They added an empty netter from Ott for the three goal victory.
The Stars wrap up their three game Western Canadian road swing on Saturday in Calgary. The Oilers next opponent is also the Flames, as they play host to Calgary on Monday.
Notes. Dallas winger Jere Lehtinen returned to the Stars lineup after missing the last 33 games due to sports hernia surgery. The former Selke Award winner had 19 points in 21 games prior to going out The Oilers also had a player return as Geoff Sanderson played his first game since Jan. 3, out most of the month with a back injury. It was his 36th birthday Edmonton's leading scorer Shawn Horcoff missed the match with a sore shoulder and MacTavish indicated there are concerns about when he will be able to return Prior to the contest the Oilers may have telegraphed that they will be sellers down the stretch, sending veteran defenceman Dick Tarnstrom to the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for rookie forward Curtis Glencross It was the 100th consecutive regular season sellout at Rexall Place in Edmonton, a stretch dating back to November 29, 2005. Coincidentally it was also the 100th all-time meeting between Edmonton and the Dallas/Minnesota franchise.