EDMONTON - You could sense the shootout coming before they took the opening face-off.
The Edmonton Oilers, who had won three consecutive shootout games and 10 in total this season, going up against a Dallas Stars squad that has the record for shootout wins with 12 from two years ago. And the game followed the script as they went to the shootout with Sergei Zubov scoring the only goal in the skills session to give the Stars their fourth win in a row, edging the Oilers 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Jeff Halpern scored in regulation for Dallas while Dustin Penner replied for Edmonton.
The Stars (19-11-4) have now won six of their last eight and 12 of their last 16.
And while the Oilers have been stupendous in shootouts this season, Stars head coach Dave Tippett says his team has proven to be no slouch at collecting bonus points in recent years either.
"Our record over the last few years shows we're pretty adept at the shootout too," he said. "We just tweaked it up a little bit. Zubov found a way. He'd been going first for a long time and we decided to change that up today and it turned out our way.
"We didn't even get to Jussi Jokinen and he's a pretty good shooter too. We needed the two points."
Stars goaltender Marty Turco said he actually relished taking the Oilers on in the shootout.
"It was quite a challenge for us, considering the success they've had," he said. "That's enjoyable. That's what the shootout is all about, it's mano a mano."
Edmonton (16-16-3) saw a three game winning streak come to an end, all three of those wins coming via the shootout. The Oilers' fourth consecutive shootout appearance set an NHL record.
"Who goes four shootouts in a row?" said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "I can't explain it that's for sure. The last two were good tough games against close-checking teams and for a young team I thought we played exceptionally well positioning and had outstanding goaltending. We're pleased with the last couple games in terms of what we gave up and what we didn't give up."
Penner, who likely had his best game to date for Edmonton, said if he had connected on one more of his chances the Oilers may have decided a game in regulation for once.
"We shouldn't have gone to a shootout," he said. "I had a couple chances that I should have buried. There was that breakaway in the second and a couple others. But overall I thought we played very well. There were still some positives we can take out of this game."
Dallas hit the scoreboard first, just 3:21 into the game as veteran Mike Modano made a tremendous pass through the slot to get Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson going the other way, leaving Halpern a wide-open net to snap it into for the early 1-0 lead.
The Oilers were able to tie it up with a minute and a half remaining in the first as Penner picked a puck off the sideboards and fought off a pair of Dallas defenders as he drove to the net before chipping it over the glove of Stars goaltender Marty Turco.
Both teams had solid opportunities to take the lead in the scoreless second, none better than when Shawn Horcoff was able to spring Penner on a breakaway but Turco was there to make the key save. Roloson came up with two key stops in the third to send it to extra time, making a toe save on a tip by Joel Lundqqvist and a glove save on Mike Ribeiro early in the period.
The Oilers goalie also stood his ground in overtime as Edmonton had to kill a penalty for the final 1:35 of the game.
"There were great chances at both ends," Modano said. "It was a good skating game and both teams had great opportunities but both goalies played well." Roloson made 35 saves to Turco's 33.
The Stars play the third game of a four game road trip on Thursday in Vancouver. Edmonton next plays host to New Jersey on Friday.
Notes: The previous record of three consecutive shootout appearances had been done seven times Oilers forward Raffi Torres is expected be out at least the next three to four weeks with a right knee injury, suffered in Detroit last week on a hit by Mikael Samuelsson. The team is taking a wait-and-see approach but if surgery is required he could be lost to the team for the season Oilers captain Ethan Moreau was skating Monday, but has backed off for next five or six days because of swelling and pain in his injured foot Both team's leading scorers are way ahead of their goal scoring pace from last season. Mike Ribeiro is leading the Stars with 16 goals, just two shy of his 18 goals from last season. Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff has already equaled his goal total from last season, leading Edmonton with 16 goals The Stars have now won their six games at Rexall Place Oiler defenceman Steve Staios earned his 1,000th career penalty minute in the first.