EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers hit the road for five games, beginning in Dallas against the Stars Saturday afternoon. The tilt is a rematch of their first meeting of the season back on October 26. In that game, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and Leon Draisaitl logged three assists as the Oilers got a 5-4 victory.
"We know the weapons that they have on that team and the style of game they play," said Nugent-Hopkins. "We have to be prepared. I think they're coming home off a tough road trip so they're going to be ready to go right from the start."
Edmonton is coming off a 4-1 loss to St. Louis at home on Thursday night, while the Stars are trying to get their season back on track as well after losing three straight on the road to Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.
"They've lost a couple in a row too and, obviously, we're not happy with the game we've played so I think it will be two grumpy teams going at it," said Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl. "It should be a good matchup."
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Oilers are 3-3-2 on the road this season, but don't let the record fool you. It's where some of their best hockey has been played. They finished their last eastern swing 2-1-1 and seven of their eight road games have been decided by a point.
"I'm not sure exactly what the reason is," said Nugent-Hopkins. "We've definitely done a good job on the road so far, this season. We have to keep that going. We did a good job against Vegas, obviously the offence broke out but we kept it pretty tight, too, and defensively we were pretty solid. Last night it got away from us a little bit but we have to find that again right away."
While the focus is on their road game right now, Edmonton needs to right the ship at home at some point.
"I don't think it's ever good to leave your home," said Head Coach Todd McLellan. "This is where we belong, we enjoy playing in front of our fans. The support that they've had for us is tremendous. There's no reason why you should want to leave to get your game in order. We play to please our fans here. We shouldn't be running away from it. We should be able to perform at a very high level at our building, we haven't been able to get there. That being said, half your games are played on the road, we're facing five of them now and we just have to play well."
The Oilers had a few absences at practice on Friday, including Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom. Both will be available in Dallas, according to McLellan.
"They're fine," he said. "They had a day today for maintenance and health. When I say health, I'm not talking injuries, I'm talking little illness and stuff like that. They should be good for tomorrow."
Andrej Sekera, once again, skated with the team and he will travel to Dallas with them. The veteran defenceman is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the playoffs. He will not play on the trip, according to McLellan, and is expected back in the lineup sometime in December.
Jujhar Khaira (upper body) was on the ice in Edmonton on Friday. McLellan said after the game Thursday that they'll see how he is Saturday before puck drop.
-- Chris Wescott, EdmontonOilers.com
OILERS (7-10-2) at STARS (9-9-1)
TV: 12:00 p.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet West
Tonight's game is the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. Back on October 26, the Oilers defeated Dallas at Rogers Place by a score of 5-4 on a late goal by Matt Benning. The two teams will meet again in early January.
Oilers team scope:
The Oilers are coming off a short two-game home stand in which they won a game and lost a game. They defeated Vegas 8-2 on Tuesday and lost 4-1 to St. Louis on Thursday.
Previous to the home stand, Edmonton was on a four-game road trip in which they went 2-1-1. Saturday's game is the start of the longest road trip of the season for the club (they have one other five-game trip in early January).
Connor McDavid leads the team in scoring with nine goals and 22 points in 19 games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is second on the team with eight goals and 15 points.
Stars team scope:
Dallas is coming off a three-game road trip in which they lost all three games (0-2-1). Most recently, the Stars fell 6-1 to Tampa Bay on Thursday night. The Stars had a stretch where they won four straight games in mid-October but since that time, they've only won three games in regulation in 11 outings (4-6-1).
Jamie Benn leads the Stars in scoring with 10 goals and 19 points in 19 games while defenceman John Klingberg has an impressive 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) which ranks him tied with Alex Pietrangelo for tops in the NHL among blueliners in points.
By the Numbers:
Connor McDavid leads the Oilers in scoring with five points (3-2-5) in four games this season. He's registered at least a point in all but one of his games so far (the loss in Vancouver on October 7). Brad Malone played 122 career NHL games for the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring nine goals and recording 12 assists.
Jeff Skinner currently leads the Hurricanes in scoring with two goals. The Hurricanes boast one of the league's best penalty kills (87.5%).
OILERS - Andrej Sekera (knee) is out; Anton Slepyshev (lower body) is out; Jujhar Khaira (upper body) is day-to-day.