NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 20th (All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (28-13-5) at Edmonton Oilers (14-24-7), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After wrapping a perfect three-game homestand, the Dallas Stars will try to make it five straight victories overall and eight in a row as the guest when they visit the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Rexall Place.
The Stars outscored their opponents, 11-4, on their recently-completed stand, including Monday's 2-1 victory over the Kings. Dallas, which is 6-0-1 in January, is on its longest winning streak since a season-best six-game run from Nov. 24-Dec. 4 and hasn't lost on the road since Dec. 11.
Dallas' recent homestand began with a 3-2 victory over Edmonton, with Kari Lehtonen making 39 saves to improve to 2-1-0 with 3.02 goals-against average versus the Oilers. Lehtonen then capped the residency with 23 saves versus Los Angeles, including one on a penalty shot with 52.4 seconds left in regulation.
The Kings were awarded the shot after Stars defenseman Jeff Woywitka was whistled for closing his hand over the puck while it was in the crease.
"It's one of those plays where you're just reacting, anything can happen. You just want to get [the puck] out as quickly as you can," Woywitka said.
Jamie Langenbrunner celebrated his 1,000th NHL game with the game-winning goal and Loui Eriksson also tallied to run his career-best point streak to 10 games (2 goals, 10 assists). Brad Richards assisted on both goals.
The Stars, who own a five-point lead for first place in the Pacific Division, have won three straight and 11 of their last 15 over the Oilers, taking eight of the last 11 in Edmonton.
The Oilers are expected to have captain Shawn Horcoff back on the ice tonight after he sat out the last 18 games with a knee injury. Horcoff has seven goals and eight assists in 24 games this year and will help offset the loss of Ales Hemsky, who suffered a concussion in Tuesday's 4-1 setback to Minnesota.
Also, Edmonton learned on Monday that forward Ryan Whitney, originally injured on Dec. 28, will not return this season after undergoing ankle surgery.
The Oilers have lost three straight and 12 of their last 14 and began a three- game homestand on Tuesday after a 1-4-0 road trip. Nikolai Khabibulin gave up four goals on 26 shots, while Magnus Paajarvi helped his club avoid the shutout by scoring with 3:46 left in regulation.
"It's a frustrating loss at home," said Edmonton forward Taylor Hall. "This is a place that we want to make teams scared to come into. With the exception of the first few minutes, we played a pretty good game. They put us on their heels at a time when we should be doing that to them."
Though Khabibulin has lost nine straight, having last won on Dec. 16, the Oilers may have to stick with him tonight as backup Devan Dubnyk is battling the flu. Khabibulin is 16-15-1 with a pair of ties and 2.82 GAA in his career versus the Stars.
Edmonton has lost five of its last six at home and is last in the West with 35 points, 19 out of a playoff spot.
01/20 11:07:55 ET