Two teams headed in opposite directions meet as the Dallas Stars (28-13-5) versus the Edmonton Oilers (14-24-7)
Dallas, first in the Pacific division, has been one of the surprises of the National Hockey League this season with 61 points. Looking for a reason? Start with goaltending. Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen has been one of the NHL’s most solid goalies with a 20-10-5 record and a sterling 2.5 GAA. Yet, Dallas is not all defense. The Stars are 12th in the league in goal scoring and have three players with 18 goals, center Brad Richards, and LWs James Neal and Brenden Marrow. LW Loui Eriksson has also chipped-in 17 goals. The Stars have come alive in the New Year, running-up their record to 6-1 in the month of January.
The Oilers are going nowhere – fast. The team is ranked near the bottom in every major category – 27th in goals scored, 30th in goals against, 28th in power play efficiency, and 30th in penalty killing. The team has a host of young players and, while they have been undergoing some growing pains, first round pick and drafted number one overall, Taylor Hall has not disappointed. Hall leads the team in goals with 14 but, overall, the team has struggled scoring and the goaltending has been a disaster.
Dallas should be favored in this game, even on the road, while Edmonton has lost 12 of their last 14 games after starting the season 11-12-5.