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Game Day: Oilers vs. Stars

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers (3-1-0) return to the friendly confines of Rexall Place tonight after a two-game road swing that saw the team split a pair of games in California. On Monday, Edmonton came back from a 2-0 first period deficit to defeat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4-2. On Tuesday, the Oilers dropped their first game of the 2005-06 season, 3-1 to Los Angeles.

Their opponent tonight is the Dallas Stars, who won two of their first three games in an opening homestand including victories over Phoenix and Los Angeles. Their one defeat was to the Colorado Avalanche. Last night, the Stars prevailed in a 3-2 overtime victory in Calgary against the Flames.

Shawn Horcoff continues to impress with six points and a +4 rating in four games... With Ryan Smyth injured, Jani Rita took a turn, albeit briefly, on the teams top line in Anaheim and Los Angeles. He may get a few more shifts on the top unit tonight... Despite not seeing any pre-season action, in two games so far Jussi Markkanen has looked sharp with a 2.40 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. In his career against Dallas, Markkanen has a 1.70 goals-against average and one shutout in five games.

Former Oiler Jason Arnott is leading the Stars in assists, points and penalty minutes after four games. He has five points (1 goal, 4 assists) and 23 PIM... Jere Lehtinen is the only forward on the Stars with more than one goal, with a pair. The other two Dallas players with two goals are defencemen Philippe Boucher, who got the overtime winner last night, and Sergei Zubov... Marty Turco has played in every game this season so far but with this being the second of back-to-back nights for the Stars, Johan Hedberg might make his debut in a Dallas uniform tonight.

Edmonton: Ryan Smyth (sprained MCL) is out. Igor Ulanov (ribs) is out. Todd Harvey (high-ankle sprain) is out.; Dallas: D Jon Klemm (back spasms) returned to play against Phoenix earlier this week after missing the first two games of the season.

With a game in Calgary tomorrow, the Oilers begin the second of 13 back-to-back games tonight. Their first back-to-back set was on Monday-Tuesday as they won the opener then dropped the second game Tuesday night... The Oilers have not lost in regulation time to Dallas in five outings. Their last outright defeat came way back on December 31, 2002 when the Stars defeated the Oilers 4-1. The last time Dallas defeated Edmonton in regulation time at Rexall Place was December 1, 2001 by a score of 6-4.

QUOTABLE: "He's certainly not a lazy kid. He's played great. I think (Monday) was maybe his best game. We all know he's got great skill level and he provides a physical element. He does a lot of things well. I don't come into many games wondering what his level of commitment is going to be."
- Head coach Craig MacTavish on the blazing fast start of Oilers forward Raffi Torres, who leads the team with four goals after four games.

The Oilers have little time to rest with a game tomorrow night in Calgary (8:00 p.m. MDT, CBC). The next home game on the schedule is Tuesday, October 18 when the Oilers will honour Paul Coffey by retiring his sweater. The opponent that night is the Gretzky-coached Phoenix Coyotes.
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