Dallas Stars vs Edmonton Oilers
Wednesday, Dec. 21: 8:30 PM CT
How to Watch: TNT
The Dallas Stars return home to face Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on National TV Wednesday night.
Dallas is coming off of an extraordinary 3-1-1 road trip against some of the hottest teams in the NHL.
On the trip through the Metropolitan Division, they lost in the final minute to the Pittsburgh Penguins, held off Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, locked down the streaking New Jersey Devils, earned a comeback point against the Carolina Hurricanes, and held on to a tight lead against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Going into the trip, as a coach, you look at the teams we had on that trip. It’s not just their records, but all of those teams were hot,” Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. “We knew it would be a big task. We knew there would be some ebbs and flows to the games, and we'd be up or down and would have to manage it. We played four teams that put a lot of pressure on you, and we managed the momentum of the game. We had quite a bit of maturity to our game against really good teams.”
The Stars have now earned 14 of a possible 20 points across a five-game home stand and a five-game road trip. That 6-2-2 record in their last 10 has boosted them alone atop of the Central Division.
But with how well the Western Conference has been playing, Dallas still sits one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the top seed and just a single point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets in the Division.
The Central and the West, as a whole, will be tight to the final days of the regular season. But Dallas has put itself in an excellent spot as they approach the Christmas break.
“Our game's coming,” DeBoer said. “We’re adding layers every time. Coming into the season, there were some areas we wanted to concentrate on and some areas we needed to put on the back burner until we got some of the priority stuff cleaned up.”
“We’ve talked about priority stuff since day one. It was getting out of our zone cleaner, which would set up our neutral zone. Recently, we’ve been spending time on our forecheck and O-zone play and we’ve seen a bump in our O-zone numbers and share. When you lay out the plan in the summer, we’re probably right where I was hoping we would be.”
Starting goaltender: Jake Oettinger will start his 23rd game of the season.
The 24-year-old holds a 13-4-3 record with a .922 save percentage this season. Oettinger is coming off a 2-1 victory in his 100th career game on Monday in Columbus.
Stars Projected Lines
- Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski
- Joel Kiviranta – Ty Dellandrea – Tyler Seguin
- Jamie Benn – Wyatt Johnston – Mason Marchment
- Riley Tufte – Radek Faksa – Luke Glendening
- Miro Heiskanen – Nils Lundkvist
- Ryan Suter – Colin Miller
- Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
- Jake Oettinger
- Scott Wedgewood
Oilers Scouting Report
The Edmonton Oilers have the two best players in the NHL.
This season, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have continued their dominance, putting up 39 goals and 118 points between the two of them. Heading into play tonight, they hold down the top two spots in overall points across the league.
Largely in part to their two superstars, the Oilers have the league's best power play, operating at a ridiculous 32.8% success rate this season (3% higher than any other club). If the Stars are going to compete in this game, they cannot make the same mistakes they did in Edmonton, when they allowed the Oilers six opportunities with the man advantage.
"I'm not selling state secrets here. If you put Edmonton on the power play, there's probably a good chance you're losing tonight," DeBoer said. "We did get away with it in Edmonton but we can't do that again tonight."
The team as a whole has been right on the playoff bubble all season long. They currently sit in the final playoff spot with a 17-14-2 record through 33 games. If the season continues on its current trend, a first-round matchup between these two clubs could become a reality in April.