TALE OF THE TAPE:
Game: Edmonton Oilers (9-15-2) vs Dallas Stars (20-5-1)
Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Time: 7:00 PM MT
Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet West – Radio: 630 CHED
Edmonton Oilers Preview:
McLellan’s praise train keeps a rolling. Today, McLellan dropped some great praise on a young Jujhar Khaira.
“I knew from exhibition, from training camp, that he had a good awareness of how to use his size,” said McLellan. “It was whether he could use that size at a pace that was going to be effective and he’s showed that he can. I think there is more in his game as we move forward. He’s just still trying to get his feet wet. He’s excited about being here. Positionally, he’s been in the right spot many times and when the puck is around him, he’s bigger, he’s stronger. I recall a moment in Pittsburgh where I don’t think he was looking to finish a check, but somebody bounced off him. It’s nice to have that heaviness.”
Yesterday, I wrote about Khaira’s first three games and where he could fit in long term so it’s nice to hear it coming from McLellan himself.
Tonight’s matchup with the Stars is the second of three this year. The teams last met on October 13th, and although Connor McDavid scored his 1st NHL goal, the team lost 4-2.
After coming off of a good win against a red-hot Bruins team who had won five in a row prior to Wednesday’s loss, the Oilers need to rebound strong against the top team in the league. The Stars are good. Like, really good.
They score at the top rate in the league (3.5 goals per game) and only allow 2.58 goals against per game. As McLellan said today, “You don’t stop Dallas, you try to limit them. We’ll need to be puck sound, positionally sound, we’ll need to play a very smart game to have a chance at success.”
Limiting a team like Dallas is no easy task as their team is deep. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp make up the key components of their top six. I don’t know how it is possible to limit a group like that, so it will be interesting to see the tactics deployed by the Oilers coaching staff.
Walter Foddis’ Pregame Metrics:
Dallas, which is tied with the Montreal Canadiens for the NHL lead in goals (91), appears to have found another offensive option with Valeri Nichushkin moved up to play with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Nichushkin had a goal and an assist in his first game on the top line, a 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Patrick Sharp, who was dropped from the top line, scored the game-winning goal on a pretty solo rush of his own. Goalie Kari Lehtonen said the Stars’ League-leading offense allows them to be better on defense. “We have so many great forwards, one of them is going to have a great night every night, so they can now think more about defense,” he said. Antti Niemi is expected to start after Lehtonen returned from a neck injury to play against the Canucks. Ruff could also re-insert defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka in the second half of back-to-back games for either Jamie Oleksiak or Patrik Nemeth. – nhl.com
Line Combos and Starting Goalies c/o Left Wing Lock:
Stars (Antti Niemi):
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