OILERS (10-7-2) at STARS (11-8-0)
TV: SNET-EDM, FS-SW
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.