NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 19th
(All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (29-24-4) at Dallas Stars (28-21-7), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars rebounded from a poor start to the season
despite the loss of their captain. Now, the team must continue its push for a
playoff spot without another one of its top offensive weapons.
Minus Brad Richards, the Stars begin their longest homestand of the season
tonight with a visit from the Edmonton Oilers to American Airlines Center.
Dallas began the season by going just 6-10-4 in its first 20 games and also
lost captain Brenden Morrow to a knee injury late in that stretch. Morrow
underwent surgery after suffering the ailment on November 20 and was expected
to miss six months of action.
Despite the loss of Morrow, as well as defenseman Sergei Zubov to left hip
surgery that has sidelined him since late November as well, the Stars slowly
began to turn their season around and with Monday's 3-2 shootout win versus
the Columbus Blue Jackets, find themselves seventh in the Western Conference
with 63 points.
However, Richards suffered a broken right wrist in that victory after being
hit into the boards in the second period. Richards, who scored just 27 seconds
into the game and has 16 goals and 32 assists on the season, is expected to be
sidelined for the next six-to-eight weeks.
Strong play out of goaltender Marty Turco could help the Stars stay afloat
until Richards' return. Turco made 41 saves in Monday's win and then halted
all three skaters he faced in the shootout.
James Neal, meanwhile, had the winning tally for Dallas in the deciding
session. Loui Erikson had a goal and assist in regulation for the Stars, who
have won four of their last six and begin a six-game homestand tonight. Dallas
is 16-7-4 as the host this year and has won six of its last seven at home.
The Stars have also won four straight and five of their last six at home
versus the Oilers, including a win in Big D on November 30. However, Dallas
has since lost two games to the Oilers in Edmonton, getting outscored 9-3 in
Edmonton had lost seven straight to the Stars prior to those victories and
seeks its first win in Dallas since December 8, 2006.
The Oilers wrap a four-game road trip tonight and had been perfect on the trek
until Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Zack Stortini and Erik Cole
scored for Edmonton, which saw its three-game win streak halted, while Dwayne
Roloson made 27 saves in the loss.
Edmonton, though, is still eighth overall in the West, one point back of the
Stars. The club is 16-13-1 on the road this year and begins a four-game
homestand Saturday versus Calgary.
02/19 11:14:01 ET