The surging Dallas Stars continue to pile up points with the playoffs fast approaching, but it could be a case of too little, too late.
Dallas continues its postseason push Friday night when it goes for a seventh consecutive road victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
The Stars (36-28-10) have followed a six-game losing streak by winning nine of 11, including a season best-tying four in a row. Dallas, however, sits in 10th place in the Western Conference, a handful of points behind Winnipeg for the second wild-card spot with eight games to go.
The Stars stayed hot Wednesday with a 4-3 shootout win over Calgary on the first stop of a crucial three-game trip.
"We know where we are at. This is a game we know we needed two points. We had to get two points somehow," coach Lindy Ruff told the league’s official website. "That puts pressure on the teams above us. Winnipeg recognizes where we are now. It’s a situation where we might have to run the table, and that might not get you in."
Former Oilers star Ales Hemsky scored twice, Tyler Seguin added two assists and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves to improve to 8-1-0 with a 2.07 goals-against average since the beginning of the month.
"It’s been exciting the last couple weeks," said Lehtonen, whose team hasn’t won five straight since April 5-13, 2013. "We’ve been playing well and getting results and climbing a little bit, but we still have a little bit to go."
The Stars are 15-2-1 in their last 18 against the Oilers after taking this season’s first two meetings, 3-2 on Nov. 25 and 6-5 in a shootout in Edmonton on Dec. 21. Seguin totaled four goals and an assist, giving him nine points in his last five games against the Oilers.
Dallas has outscored Edmonton 21-10 during its six-game run at Rexall Place, with Lehtonen starting each contest. Lehtonen is 12-3-1 with a 2.23 GAA against the Oilers.
Edmonton (21-40-13) is coming off Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Colorado, moving to 3-1-1 in its last five games. Jordan Eberle scored his 21st goal, Anton Lander, Andrew Miller and Benoit Pouliot each had two assists and Ben Scrivens made 41 saves.
"It’s all about us to try and play our game and try to get better every game and every practice," center Derek Roy said. "I think we’re doing that and sticking up for each other out there and playing hard and blocking shots."
Eberle has recorded six goals and nine assists over a nine-game stretch. He leads the team with 59 points and has two assists against Dallas this season.
Scrivens has surrendered three or four goals in all but one of his last eight starts. He’s allowed eight goals in losing each of his two career matchups against the Stars.
Aside from trying to contain Seguin, the Oilers will need to keep a close eye on Jamie Benn. The forward has four goals and three assists in the last four games, and he’s totaled 10 points in nine visits to Edmonton.
The Oilers lost Andrew Ference (concussion), Boyd Gordon (back), Mark Fayne (shoulder) and Matt Hendricks (back) over the last two games, leaving their availability for Friday unclear.