| OILERS vs STARS: |
AT THE MORNING SKATE
The Oilers held an optional morning skate Friday morning, with only about a dozen players taking to the ice.
One of those players was defenceman Sheldon Souray, who did not practice Thursday. After the skate, Souray said that the team needs to build on Wednesday's positive performance vs Vancouver. The Oilers outshot the Canucks 33-29 held the lead for most of the game, but eventually lost 3-2 in overtime.
"I thought we deserved a better outcome but that's okay," Souray said. "We're going to keep on improving on what we're trying to build here and we feel good about ourselves after the effort we gave last game."
Aiming for the Stars
Dallas is also coming off a game vs. the Canucks -- a 4-3 regulation loss last night in Vancouver. During his morning press conference, Head Coach Pat Quinn said that the Oilers need to take advantage of their tired opponents and keep the pressure on through the full 60 minutes.
"We've had some strong starts against some teams that have been coming in off a game when they're tired, but what we haven't done is be able to sustain it," Quinn said. "It seemed like we were the ones that fell off in the third period for whatever reason."
In addition to a 60-minute effort, Associate Coach Tom Renney wants to see the Oilers disrupt Stars goalie Marty Turco.
"He's a heck of a competitor, a great guy, and he's going to want to really make sure that everybody in this league understands he's the number one goaltender," Renney said. "So we certainly want to get to him, don't let him handle the puck, make life miserable for him."
Dallas is winless in 10 road games, a fact that isn't lost on Souray or the other Oilers, but the veteran defenceman emphasized that his club is in no position to take anyone lightly.
"I don't think we're worried about anyone else who's coming in here, or what their records are," Souray said. "We've had a pretty tough go obviously the last couple of months, so we're just going to worry about the way we're playing and the things we need to get the win here tonight."
Quinn was also realistic about tonight's battle.
"There's some reason to hope for this team, maybe not to suddenly have miracles that put us right back in the hunt, but certainly to get a better result than we've been getting at the end of the night," the coach said. "We'll hopefully be prepared to play against a team that certainly is a hard-working club but you know has got some holes in it as well."
Dubnyk & Chorney in, Staios & Smid out
One reason for hope for the Oilers may be goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk will make his fourth start in the last five games tonight, and Quinn praised the 6'5" goalie's size, skills, and heart.
"[Oilers management] thought Dubnyk had a good future in front of him: size, athletic skill, the kind of thing that attracts people that believe if he learns more and more about this game he could be a real good player. They drafted what I think is a good athlete.
"One of the things goaltenders have to do is have that iron in their heart, because if they are this kind of a goaltender, generally their play is the same," Quinn continued. " I see good things in this young man, and he fights back if it's not going (his way)."
Dubnyk will be joined by former Springfield Falcons teammate Taylor Chorney tonight. The young defenceman arrived in Edmonton early this afternoon and will fill the gap left by injuries to Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid.
STARS 4 - OILERS 3
It was an exciting game between two desperate clubs that went down to the wire. With a minute left on the clock and an open net behind him, Sam Gagner scored his second goal of the night to tie the Stars 3-3. The crowd went wild, but 40 seconds later Dallas' James Neal shut them up by lifting the game-winner over goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Gagner, Robert Nilsson, and Dustin Penner led the Oilers with two points each, while Dubnyk finished with 28 saves. At the opposite end of the ice, Marty Turco made 35 saves for the Stars win.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com