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Oilers seek 1st win of 2010 as Stars come to town

by John Kreiser

STARS (21-18-11) at OILERS (16-27-6)

Last 10 -- Dallas 3-7-0; Edmonton 1-7-2

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Edmonton has won the first two in shootouts -- 5-4 at home on Oct. 6 and 3-2 in Dallas on Dec. 5. The Oilers have won four of the last five meetings.

Big story -- The Oilers have yet to win in 2010; they've gone 0-7-2 since a 3-1 win over Toronto in their next-to-last game of 2009. This could be their best chance -- the Stars are among the NHL's weakest road teams at 7-13-6 and are coming off a tough 4-3 loss at Vancouver on Thursday. Edmonton played perhaps its best game of the season on Wednesday and got its first point in six games despite losing 3-2 to Vancouver in overtime. But the Oilers are still 1-14-2 in their last 17 games.

Team Scope:

Stars -- Whether it's the white jerseys, the hotels, the food -- whatever the reason, the Stars are a completely different team on the road than they are at the AmericanAirlinesCenter. They fell to 0-8-2 in their last 10 games away from home with the loss at Vancouver on Thursday.

"We've been stressing taking positives from games, and for a large part of the game we had the effort we needed, and were playing like we wanted. Then we let it slip," goaltender Alex Auld said. "We have to keep learning from these things and move on. We have to get better."

They'd better do it soon -- the Stars are now 10th in the West, five points out of the last playoff spot with a game at Colorado on Sunday before they return home.

Oilers -- The bag skate ordered by coach Pat Quinn after Monday's horror show in Colorado appeared to have some impact against the Canucks -- the Oilers played their best game in quite a while despite the overtime loss.

"We had a lot of passion and intensity, we played the game the right way," said forward Sam Gagner, who scored the game's first goal. "Now we have to regroup and use our anger the right way and be better."

Who's hot -- Dallas forward Loui Eriksson has scored goals in his last three games. Forward Toby Peterson scored his sixth goal of the season against the Canucks, two more than he had all last season. … Patrick O'Sullivan has four points in the Oilers' last five games.

Injury report -- Dallas captain Brenden Morrow has missed the Stars' last two games with an upper-body injury. Forward Tom Wandell left in the third period on Thursday and is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. … Edmonton could be shorthanded on the blue line -- Steve Staios hasn't played since Saturday due to a combination of the flu and a hit to the head, and Ladislav Smid likely won't play after taking a big hit in the loss to the Canucks. Center Mike Comrie, who's been out since mid-November with mononucleosis, has started to skate again.

Stat pack -- Dallas hasn't won in regulation on the road since Nov. 19 in Detroit; the Stars are 1-10-3 away from home since then -- the one win was an 11-round shootout victory in San Jose last month. … Penalty-killing continues to be a problem for the Oilers. Vancouver was 3-for-4 on the power play on Wednesday, and Edmonton is 29th on the penalty kill at just 74.1 percent.

Puck drop -- Something has to give -- either the Stars are going to end their road woes or the Oilers are going to get their first win of the new year.

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