Stars-Oilers Preview

Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars
Thursday February 28
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (10-8-2) wrapped up a two-game road trip with a 5-4 overtime win in Columbus Tuesday. Loui Eriksson scored the game-winner 3:03 into the extra period for the Stars, who picked up three of four points on the trip.

Thursday’s game kicks off a stretch that will see the Stars play 11 of their next 15 games at American Airlines Center.

“If you look at the way our schedule sets up – and you have to remember there are no easy games any night no matter what building you are in – it’s an important part for us,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “You have to win at home if you are going to get to the playoffs.”

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last five games with a groin injury, is expected to get the start Thursday night against Edmonton.

Forward Erik Cole, acquired from Montreal Tuesday for Michael Ryder and a third round draft pick, is expected to make his Dallas debut in Thursday’s game.

The Stars assigned goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp to Texas (AHL) on Wednesday.

Injuries: G Kari Lehtonen (groin) is expected to play. D Philip Larsen (shoulder), D Aaron Rome (foot) and LW Ray Whitney (foot) are out.

About the Oilers

The Oilers (7-7-4) opened a nine-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime loss at Chicago Monday. The Oilers had a 2-1 lead after two periods, but the Blackhawks tied it early in the third and won it on a Marian Hossa goal in OT.

“Big picture, it’s an excellent point against the strongest team in the National Hockey League right now,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. “Of course you feel pain, having the lead going into the third period. It’s definitely something you dream and believe you can close it, but they really are an amazingly powerful team. They’re very, very strong on the puck. They never let up at all.”

The Oilers announced Wednesday that goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was going on injured reserve with a groin injury that he aggravated on the final play of the Chicago game.

Edmonton recalled goaltender Yann Danis from Oklahoma City of the AHL.

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal for the Oilers on Thursday.

Forward Taylor Hall is expected to return after serving a two-game suspension for kneeing Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck.

Defenseman Mark Fistric will play his first game in Dallas since being traded from the Stars to the Oilers earlier this season.

Injuries:  G Nikolai Khabibulin (groin), C Shawn Horcoff (hand), F Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder), D Andy Sutton (knee), and C Anton Lander (foot) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the third and final between the Stars and Oilers.

*The Stars are 2-0-0 (4 points) in the season series.

*The Oilers are 0-1-1 (1 point) in the season series.

*February 6, Dallas at Edmonton: Stars 3, Oilers 2 (OT)
February 12: Dallas at Edmonton: Stars 4, Oilers 1

*The Stars have won six straight games against the Oilers.

Statistical tidbits

*Fifteen different Dallas players have scored goals over the last 11 games.

*The Stars have scored three goals or more in 11 straight games and in 12 of their last 13.

*The Oilers have scored two goals or fewer in 11 of their last 13 games.

*The Oilers have scored 16 five-on-five goals, the lowest total in the league.

*The Stars have scored 38 five-on-five-goals, which is tied for fifth most in the league.

*The Oilers are 5-18 (27.8%) on the power play over the last five games.

*After being outshot in their first 11 games, the Stars have outshot their opposition in six of the last nine games.

Statistical matchup

Category Stars Oilers
Record 10-8-2 7-7-4
Home 4-3-1 4-4-2
Away 6-5-1 3-3-2
Last 5 2-2-1 2-2-1
Last 10 6-3-1 3-4-3
Streak Points 3 (2-0-1) Points 2 (1-0-1)
Goals/game 2.75 (14th) 2.22 (27th)
Goals against/game 2.85 (19th) 2.67 (14th)
Power play 18.3 (12th) 23.8 (5th)
Penalty kill 83.2 (12th) 86.6 (4th)
Shots/game 27.0 (26th) 28.9 (18th)
Shots against/game 30.3 (22nd) 33.4 (30th)
Faceoffs 47.9 (24th) 46.1 (28th)
Team Leaders Stars Oilers
Goals Benn, Eriksson: 6 Hemsky: 7
Assists: Eakin, Roy, Goligoski, Robidas: 9 Gagner, Hall: 13
Points: Benn: 14 Gagner: 18
Goaltenders Lehtonen: 7-2-1, 2.12, .934
Bachman: 2-3-0, 3.92, .848
Nilstorp, 1-3-1, 3.09, .897
Dubnyk: 5-5-3, 2.78, .917
Khabibulin: 2-2-1, 2.11, .935
Danis: 0-0-0, 0.00, 1.000

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