Thursday, February 28, 2013
Pre-Game: Game #19 Oilers vs. Stars
The Oilers get back at it after two days off as they face an old nemesis in the Dallas Stars, in a barn they have little success in over the last 15 years. The Oilers are fresh off a bittersweet 3-2 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks, keeping the Hawks pointless streak alive. On one hand the Oilers hung with the best team in the NHL right now. On the other hand, it was a missed opportunity to have a statement game for this young team.The Oilers will have a different look tonight. Taylor Hall's two game suspension is done and he will be back in the lineup tonight. Nikolai Khabibulin finds himself back on the Injured Reserve with a groin strain meaning Devan Dubnyk will go back to getting the bulk fo the games on this road trip. The Oilers currently sit tied for 12th in the Western Conference with the Calgary Flames, only 3 point out of a playoff spot. The Oilers are getting caught in the "zero sum" game like they have in years past, where they grind out a point here and there but start slipping in the standings because the consistent wins are elusive. While some fans are wanting playoffs something fierce, I'm personally hoping for the opportunity of acquiring Seth Jones through the draft even if it means they have to be the worst team in the league one more time. Ultimately Steve Tambellini will dictate where the Oilers will finish by his moves or lack thereof. The Oilers need this game even if its a game they don't matchup well in.
- Stars just have a better blend of fowards at this moment. Oilers have much better potential but a lot of that potential isn't realized yet.
- Stars have a mismatched group on D while the Oilers D have been solid this season even though they have been under siege a fair time.
- Kari Lehtonen comes off the IR in time to face the Oilers. Lehtonen has had the Oilers number in the past. Dubnyk will go for the Oilers.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers scored shorthanded and on the powerplay on Monday but once again failed to score 5v5. Special Teams has been the lifeline for the Oilers.
- Glen Guletzen is getting a little more of his group although Ralph Krueger is squeezing as much as he can out of his bloodstone. Krueger really needs to adapt better especially with his top 6.
- 3rd game in 4 nights for the Stars. If the Oilers have their skating legs, they could give the older Stars some issues.
Game Time - 6:30 PM MT on Sportsnet West.