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by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Edmonton Oilers


Sunday December 21, 2014
5:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (13-13-5) won their third straight game, defeating Calgary 2-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome Friday night. Kari Lehtonen made 21 saves, and Jamie Benn and Trevor Daley scored goals for the Stars, who improved to 2-0-0 on their road trip.

“I felt good, and the guys played very well in front of me,” Lehtonen said. “The first period maybe wasn’t our best, but after that it was really solid. We didn’t give them too much.”

Forward Ryan Garbutt is eligible to return from his three-game suspension Sunday, but Stars coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t sure if he would play Garbutt or put Travis Moen back in the lineup.

“I haven’t made a decision yet,” Ruff said. “With [Curtis] McKenzie going back [to the AHL], we have two choices.”

Defenseman Jordie Benn, who missed Friday’s game due to illness, skated Saturday.

“Jordie is better,” Ruff said. “We’ll see where he is at tomorrow morning.”

Sunday will mark the first return of Ales Hemsky to Edmonton, where he had played his entire NHL career until he was traded to Ottawa prior to last season’s trade deadline.

Sunday’s game concludes a three-game road trip for the Stars.

Injuries: D Jordie Benn (illness) is questionable. RW Patrick Eaves (ankle), RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) and D Patrik Nemeth (arm) are out.

About the Oilers

The Oilers (7-20-6) are coming off a 4-3 loss at San Jose Thursday. The Oilers had a 3-2 lead going into the third period, but the Sharks rallied in final 20 minutes to win the game. The loss pushed the Oilers’ winless streak to six games (0-5-1).

“I thought we played pretty hard tonight. I thought we competed hard,” Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson said. “I thought we scored goals the way we have to. It was a good effort by everybody. It’s a start and a move in the right direction.”

Edmonton has won just once in their past 18 games (1-12-5). The last five losses have been close games. Three of the losses have been by one goal, and the other two were one-goal games until the opponent scored into an empty net to extend the lead.

“We're right there, chomping at the bit,” Oilers forward Steven Pinizzotto said. “We're not getting blown out and the boys are starting to come together now. Everyone is playing well. Now we have to figure out a way to get on the other side of that.”

Sunday’s game kicks off a two-game homestand for the Oilers.

Injuries: D Nikita Nikitin (back) and LW Benoit Pouliot (foot) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second of three meetings between the Stars and Oilers this season.

*The Stars won the first meeting, defeating the Oilers, 3-2, in Dallas on November 25.

*The Stars have won five straight games at Rexall Place.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 8-2-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Oilers are 0-4-3 vs. the Central Division and 1-16-5 vs. the Western Conference.

*The Stars have allowed one goal or fewer in three of their past five games.

*The Oilers have scored two goals or fewer in 12 of their past 14 games.

*The Oilers are 1-13 on the power play over the past six games.

*The Stars are 8-8 on the penalty kill over their past two contests.

*Edmonton forward Taylor Hall has not scored a goal in his past 11 games, and he has just one point – an assist – over his past seven contests.

*Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads the Oilers in goals (9) and points (21).

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (23) and points (39).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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