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PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Stars

In today's Boston Pizza Preview, the Oilers continue their eight-game home stand with a game against the Dallas Stars

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers look to right the ship on their eight-game home stand tonight after picking up only one point in their last three contests (0-2-1). Tonight's opponent, the Dallas Stars, have dropped each of their last two. 

You can watch the game within the Oilers region on Sportsnet West or listen via 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network. 

Read the game preview below and check back throughout the day for lineup updates, videos, our Morning Skate Report and more. 

Video: OILERS TODAY | EDM vs. DAL Pre

INSIDE THE OILERS

News and notes from Monday's Oilers practice and media availability.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers will look to defuse what Head Coach Todd McLellan is calling an "offensive time bomb" in the Dallas Stars Tuesday at Rogers Place. Dallas has dropped their last two games, scoring three goals combined - meaning the fuse could spark any time now.

"This team, (Dallas) I think it's an offensive time bomb that can go off at any point and they could put seven up real quick on you," said McLellan.

The Stars are 27-31-10 this season, sitting sixth in the Central Division with 64 points. They are 19th in the League on the power play at 18.1 percent and are last on the penalty kill (74.1 percent). Despite their record and special teams, the club is still dangerous.

"They're a team that has made the playoffs in the past," continued McLellan. "Was one of the top teams last year - top two or three teams in the League - that doesn't all just disappear, that talent level is there, the skill level's there."

OFFENSIVE FLARES

Two of the Stars that could ignite the team's offence are forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who sit 10th and 11th in League scoring with 67 and 63 points, respectively.

The two don't always play on the same line but are also troubling individually. Defenceman Kris Russell, who is often tasked with shutting down opposing offensive threats, will likely see lots of them.

"Good players," Russell said. "They're usually top in scoring for a reason so you got to be aware when they're out there."

Mitigating the tandem's puck touches are paramount if the Oilers will want to stymie their offence.

"You just try to limit their time and space as best you can," said Russell.

Adding to the fire is offensive defenceman John Klingberg. The Swedish rearguard is having another solid year point-wise, with 11 goals and 40 points in 66 games.

LINEUP NOTES

McLellan has considered altering his forward combination - including the top line - during the Oilers three-game slide.

"Do they start together (the top line), do they stay together, we'll see as the night goes on," said McLellan. "Obviously, they need to produce. (Milan) Lucic has awoke and he's played effectively and produced points… The shuffling would come from (lines) three and four."

Anton Slepyshev appears to be drawing in for Iiro Pakarinen and Matt Benning is expected to replace Eric Gryba. Drake Caggiula took rushes this morning on the third line, however, McLellan indicated Benoit Pouliot should be able to play.

The projected lineup is:

Maroon - McDavid - Draisaitl

Lucic - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle

Pouliot - Desharnais - Kassian

Hendricks - Letestu - Slepyshev

Klefbom - Larsson

Sekera - Russell

Nurse - Benning

Talbot

-- Paul Gazzola, edmontonoilers.com

PREVIEW

OILERS (35-24-9) vs. STARS (27-31-10)

TV: 7:00 p.m. MDT; Televised on Sportsnet West

Head-to-Head:

This is the third and final meeting between the Oilers and Stars this season and the second of two games in Edmonton. The last time these teams met in Edmonton was on Nov. 11, 2016, when the Oilers fell to the Stars 3-2. Patrick Maroon and Tyler Pitlick scored for the Oilers in the loss.  

The last time these teams met was on November 19th in Dallas, when the Oilers defeated the Stars by a score of 5-2. Connor McDavid scored his first career hat-trick in the win, while Cam Talbot made 31 saves for the victory.

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers have dropped each of their last three games, two in regulation and one in a shootout as they've opened their eight-game home stand with a record of 1-2-1. 

Edmonton is three points behind Anaheim and Calgary for second place in the Pacific Division but hold a game in hand on each club. They are in the first Wild Card spot, two points ahead of St. Louis who hold the second Wild Card position. The Oilers are seven points up on the L.A. Kings. who have the best record of all Western Conference teams below the cutline.

Goaltender Cam Talbot has now appeared in an NHL high 61 games this season, and leads the NHL in minutes played (3,621), in saves (1,648) and fourth in wins (33). The Caledonia, Ont. has set new career highs in all these categories in 2016-17.

Talbot is also within striking distance of the Oilers record for wins by a goaltender in one season, which is 40, a record held by Grant Fuhr (1987-88).

Talbot has also earned five shutouts this season, matching his career high from 2014-15, while he was with the Rangers

Forward Jordan Eberle has 370 career points (159G, 211A) in 493 games in the NHL, all as an Oiler, ranking him 12th place in all-time Oilers scoring. Eberle is seven games from appearing in 500 games as an Oiler. To date, only 20 players have reached that milestone with the organization.

Eberle is the top-scoring current Oiler on the all-time Oiler scoring list. The top-scoring active player is Ales Hemsky, with Dallas, who has 477 points (142G, 335A) in 652 games with Edmonton. The native of Regina, Sask. needs 13 points to tie/14 points to move ahead of Kevin Lowe for 11th place in Oilers all-time scoring.

Stars team scope:

Dallas has dropped each of its last two games and overall are 5-5-0 in their last 10. With 64 points, the Stars are 13 points behind the Blues for the final playoff spot with only 14 games left in the season. 

The Stars are a team which has shown to be much better at home than on the road this season. They are 18-12-6 on home ice but only 9-19-4 on the road. 

Historically, Dallas has played well in Edmonton. Since the 2009-10 season, the Stars are 9-2-2 on the road against Edmonton, with an 18-3-4 overall mark during that time. However, the Stars did drop their only other game at Rogers Place earlier this season. 

Forward Tyler Seguin has points in four of his last five games (1 goal, 5 assists) and has posted 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) over his last 21 contests. With his assist on March 6 against the Capitals, he notched his 300th career point in a Dallas Stars sweater. His 301 points since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign ranks fourth in the NHL behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (345), Jamie Benn (318) and Chicago's Patrick Kane (312).

This season, he leads the Stars and shares ninth in the NHL with 67 points (23 goals) in 68 games and his 44 assists rank fifth in the League. On the road, Seguin is tied for 10th in the NHL with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 32 road games and has logged points in four of his last six road games (1 goal, 7 assists). Seguin has six points (3 goals) over his last five road games in Edmonton. Seguin has skated in 12 career games against the Oilers and has recorded 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists).

Jason Spezza has points in two-straight games against the Oilers (1 goal, 2 assists) and has points in six of his last eight outings (5 goals, 4 assists) against them. In nine career games in Edmonton, the forward has registered 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists). Over his NHL career, Spezza has 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) in 21 contests against the Oilers. Spezza is third on the Stars in goals, with 12, and points, with 40, on the season. 

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