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Stars shoot for season sweep of Oilers

by Mike G. Morreale

OILERS (7-7-4) at STARS (10-8-2)


Last 10: Edmonton 3-4-3; Dallas 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third and final meeting between the teams in the regular season. The Stars have taken the first two meetings, including a 4-1 victory on Feb. 13 when Eric Nystrom, Brenden Dillon, Jaromir Jagr and Ryan Garbutt connected for goals and Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves. The Stars are 11-1-0 in their last 12 meetings with the Oilers.

Big story: Prior to Tuesday's overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk acquired forward Erik Cole from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Michael Ryder and a 2013 third-round draft pick. Cole, who has two years remaining on his contract that runs through the 2014-15 season, has three goals and six points in 19 games this season. Cole has a history with Stars left wing Ray Whitney, as the two spent five seasons together in Carolina.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Left wing Taylor Hall will return to the lineup after serving his two-game suspension for a knee-on-knee hit against Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 21. The Oilers are playing their second game of a nine-game road trip that began Monday with an overtime loss in Chicago. Jeff Petry and Nail Yakupov scored for Edmonton in the 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks. Nikolai Khabibulin made 31 saves in the loss, which coach Ralph Krueger considered a solid effort by his group. Khabibulin was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, so Devan Dubnyk will get the start against Dallas.

"Big picture, it's an excellent point against the strongest team in the NHL right now," Krueger said. "Of course you feel pain, having the lead going into the third period. It's definitely something you dream and believe you can close it, but they really are an amazingly powerful team. They're very, very strong on the puck. They never let up at all."

Stars: Loui Eriksson scored 3:03 into overtime to give the Stars a 5-4 victory over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena. Derek Roy, Antoine Roussel and Cody Eakin each had a goal and one assist and goalie Richard Bachman stopped 16 of 20 shots to earn his second victory in three games. Dallas was playing its first game without Ryder, its leading scorer who was earlier traded to the Canadiens for Cole. Cole was scheduled to arrive in Dallas on Wednesday to undergo a physical before joining the team.

Who's hot: Rookie Roussel has three goals and five points in the past five games for the Stars. … Edmonton rookie Yakupov, the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, has six goals and 11 points in 18 games this season.

Injury report: Lehtonen (groin) is probable, defensemen Philip Larsen (upper body) and Aaron Rome (foot) are questionable and Whitney (foot) is doubtful for the Stars. … The Oilers are without defensemen Theo Peckham (hip) and Andy Sutton (knee), forwards Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder) and Anton Lander (foot) and goalie Khabibulin (groin).

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