Oilers try to stay hot on home ice vs. Stars
The Edmonton Oilers’ roll on home ice will be tested when they host the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars on Thursday.
The Oilers have earned points in 12 of their last 13 home games (8-1-4), including Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Edmonton is 5-2-0 in its last seven games overall, as the club continues their push for a top-three finish (and a guaranteed playoff spot) in the Pacific Division.
As good as the Oilers have been in their rink, the Stars have traditionally been unwelcome guests. Dating back to March of the 2003-04 season, the Stars are 19-7-3 in their last 29 games in Edmonton.
That lopsided record includes a victory earlier this season, when the Stars collected a 6-2 win in Edmonton on Nov. 5. The Oilers returned the favor with a 6-3 win in Dallas on Dec. 21.
Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks was a relatively rare setback for the Stars, who still have a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. Despite holding the Canucks to only 19 shots, Dallas at times looked to be feeling the toll of playing its fourth away game in six days.
“There’s no quit in our group,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “I didn’t think we had our best stuff tonight, and I anticipated that with kind of the road we’ve been on here for the last week. But still a winnable game.”
Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen has 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) over the course of an eight-game point streak.
Jake Oettinger will likely be back in the Stars’ net on Thursday, after rookie goaltender Matt Murray struggled against Vancouver in his second career NHL game. Murray got the start since backup goalie Scott Wedgewood is still recovering from a lower-body injury.
Oettinger has been one of the league’s best goalies this season, and Dallas will need its netminder to continue that form against Edmonton’s potent offense.
Connor McDavid is enjoying the best season of his spectacular career, as the forward leads the NHL in goals (56), assists (73) and points (129). That point total is the highest of any player since the 1995-96 season.
Leon Draisaitl’s 100 points rank second in the league this season. Draisaitl reached the 100-point threshold with two goals against the Senators on Tuesday and became the 27th player in NHL history with at least four seasons of 100-plus points.
Beyond the scoring prowess, Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft also praised Draisaitl’s all-around play.
“He is hockey sense personified. The definition of what the modern-day power forward looks like — or should look like,” Woodcroft said of Draisaitl. “When he’s at his very best, his 200-foot game is so strong, because he’s hard to contain in all three zones.”
Stuart Skinner is 5-1-0 in his last six games, including the win over Ottawa. With Jack Campbell struggling, Skinner has stepped up to become Edmonton’s regular goaltender, starting nine of the Oilers’ last 11 games.
Oilers forwards Zach Hyman and Ryan McLeod (undisclosed injuries) are questionable for Thursday. Hyman didn’t play against the Senators, while McLeod left the game during the third period.
–Field Level Media