G15: Oilers vs. Stars – Will the Stars Align For Edmonton?

Chicago Blackhawks v Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars are coming into Edmonton and the latter half of a back-to-back, you’d like to think that they should be tired and ripe for the picking, right? Well, to speak to the point that they are in fact due for a loss, let’s consider these factors:

  • They have played 5 games in 8 days.
    • In that time frame, they’ve gone 2-2-1
  • This is the 2nd b2b in 7 days.
    • The previous one was versus the red-hot Blackhawks and Dallas lost both times.
  • They’ve been hit massively on the health front.
    • Five top-9 major players are out for them (Spezza, Eakin, Sharp, Hemsky, Janmark).
    • Antoine Roussel AND Lauri Korpikoski are playing top line minutes…
  • They’ve let in 19 goals in the past 5 games.
    • That 8-2 loss to Winnipeg didn’t help.
  • The Stars have been shorthanded 20 times in the last 5 games and their PK has been busted 4 times in said 5 games.

All of that is fine and dandy BUT:

In the now oft-mentioned previous 5 games,

  • Tyler Seguin has 7 points (2g, 5a) and 23 shots *4 of those points on the PP*
  • Jamie Benn has 6 points (2g, 4a)
  • John Klingberg has 5 points (2g 3a)
  • Antoine Roussel has 25 PIMs

So their big guns are firing, especially Seguin. They’ve got some ridiculously irritating players running up and down the line-up in Roussel, Gemel Smith, Korpikoski, and Curtis McKenzie plus to back those guys up in case sparks fly are Brett Ritchie, Patrick Eaves, Stephen Johns, and Jordie Benn…

Despite the Dallas Stars’ record (5-6-3), for the reasons above, they shouldn’t be a team that you as a fan should think are a guaranteed victory for the Oilers. They’re no more a win than the Buffalo Sabres, the Ottawa Senators, or the Toronto Maple Leafs were supposed to be back in October.

The Oilers are 2-2-1 in their last 5 games, 2-3-1 if you toss in the Senators game,  and that’s not the kind of record that will drive you to a playoff spot.

I think that a lot of people will be judging Edmonton’s playoff chances on a game like this one against Dallas and that’s a fair point to make. Personally, I get pretty torn on games like this one this year because the Oilers have beaten some pretty good teams already but they’ve lost to some pretty shitty ones as well. But, we’re nearly half-way into November, a month that is supposed to tell us where we should be drawing our lines in the sand regarding this team. October was the cherry start, Edmonton has to start winning again or the likes of the uber-hot Los Angeles Kings and the re-emerging Anaheim Ducks will catch up to them and pass them. Leaving them for the San Jose Sharks to feast upon once they find their game (5-5-0 in their last ten…)

Let me ask you, I know the Stars’ record doesn’t reflect it but are they closer to the Rangers/Penguins this year or are they closer to the Canucks/Flames?

I’d like to say they’re close to Vancouver/Calgary but they are so stricken with injury that I think once they get their boys back, it’ll be game on for them and they could very well make a HUGE push in the 2nd half…

The Oilers will win this one tonight because Dallas’ goaltending cannot get its game together and I’m not convinced that their defense can handle the Oilers top line of Maroon/McDavid/Eberle.

*Eberle has 5 points in his last 5 games btw*

I also believe that Edmonton has the forward depth to withstand whatever the Stars send over the boards and this Oilers team can play the game any way you want to now that it’s a more balanced and sizeable squad.

Now, with that said, Klefbom and Larsson should, in theory, be able to take on Benn’s line. We’d prefer it if Seguin was on that line too but it looks like he’ll be centering the 2nd line with Roussel and Eaves. I reckon that Nugent-Hopkins, Pouliot, and Puljujarvi shouldn’t be lined up against them but Lucic, Draisaitl, and Pitlick should but can Sekera and Benning handle Seguin’s line is the question? Maybe it won’t matter though, maybe that will be the assignment given to Gryba and Nurse…

Then again, what if McLellan decides to match KlefLarr with Seguin and leave Benn to Sekera/Benning or Gryba/Nurse?

Either way, the Dallas forward/Edmonton defense match-ups will be a chess match to keep one’s eye on.

What do you think about tonight’s game? Let me know in the comments below!

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!