The Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of a five-game losing skid, but they have a huge opportunity to snap that streak Saturday.
In a matchup with the Dallas Stars, Edmonton will get back three players that have been out on the injured reserve. With the return of Drake Caggiula, Matt Hendricks and Kris Russell, the Oilers should have more opportunities and depth to escape with a win. Here’s everything you need to know prior to puck drop in Texas.
Here are the Oilers projected lines against Dallas.
Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Jesse Puljujarvi
Leon Draisaitl-Drake Caggiula-Jordan Eberle
Milan Lucic-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Anton Slepyshev
Matt Hendricks-Mark Letestu-Zack Kassian
Out: Tyler Pitlick, Benoit Pouliot
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera-Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse-Matt Benning
Out: Eric Gryba, Brandon Davidson, Mark Fayne
Between Two Posts
Cam Talbot gets the nod for the Oilers Saturday, and Kari Lehtonen will likely get the start for the Stars. Talbot has lost four straight starts, and Lehtonen has won three of his last four games.
With the Oilers dropping their last five decisions, including one against the Stars, Talbot will have to stand tall and prove his worth.
Players to Watch
Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars
These two players will be the ones to watch on the ice Saturday. Both these men lead their respective clubs in scoring, and have 14 assists a piece, tied for the league lead with Ryan Getzlaf. Seguin and McDavid are very talented players who can do amazing things with the puck; expect both of them to be on the hunt for points.
If the Oilers want to win, they need to get through the first period without being scored on. In order to stop the opposition, Edmonton will need to work on maintaining possession and looking after the puck. Not to mention, the Oilers will have their leading shot-blocking defenseman back in play, meaning they can stop more scoring chances and have more insurance on defense.
Next, the first line will have to gel. McDavid and Puljujarvi have great potential to be a power duo, one that combines swift playmaking with a rocket shot and scoring ability. With Patrick Maroon crashing the net and guarding the crease, Edmonton has plenty of opportunities to get this unit to score.
Lastly, the bottom-six will have to be physical and play a rough-and-tumble game. This Stars team can be dangerous and is always a threat, and in order to stop them, there needs to be physicality and speed from the opposing team.