NHL: Stars confident as they head into clash with Oilers
It’s been a solid start to the season for the Dallas Stars, one they look to maintain when they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Dallas, which sits atop the NHL’s Central Division, has won three of its past four games after a brief two-game skid. The Stars head into the weekend having won each of their past two, outscoring opponents 12-4 and not missing a beat in goal with Scott Wedgewood holding down the fort for the injured Jake Oettinger.
“I think we’re feeling good,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “We’re playing with confidence. Wedgy has stepped in and played really solid, so we should feel good about our goaltending. We have a chance to have a real good road trip here, but obviously the toughest is yet to come.”
The power play has spurred back to life in their past two outings, with the Stars connecting at a 4-for-8 clip after going to 0-for-13 in their previous four contests.
The return of defenseman Miro Heiskanen from a three-game absence due to injury has helped the cause. The Finn, who returned Tuesday, has three assists in his past two games.
“His impact is huge,” DeBoer said. “He gets us out of our end quicker, cleaner, makes so many plays. He’s one of the best in the world for a reason, and when he’s out of the lineup we’re a different team.”
The Oilers will aim to bounce back after a seven-second stumble late in the third period against New Jersey turned a one-goal lead into a one-goal defeat on Thursday. Edmonton held a 3-2 lead with 3:15 remaining in the final frame before two quick strikes by the Devils snapped a five-game winning streak.
“We would like to close it out with a little bit more authority,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said after the game. “We had chances to improve our lead. It didn’t go our way. So we’re going to have to learn from some of the mistakes we made tonight.”
Edmonton had been 5-0-0 when leading after two periods so far this season.
“These are ones you know you don’t want to let slip away,” defenseman Tyson Barrie said. “But it could be a good learning experience for us moving ahead in bigger games and further down the season. This one will stick with us. We won’t let it happen again.”
The Oilers’ powerhouse duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continue to tear it up.
McDavid has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in a five-game point streak and is averaging 2.18 points per game. He’s recorded multiple points in each of his past four games and has been held off the scoresheet only twice this season, in consecutive games on Oct. 22 and Oct. 24.
Draisaitl, meanwhile, has put up 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in a six-game point streak and has 22 points on the season (six goals, 16 assists). Only once through the first 11 games has he gone without a point, back on Oct. 22 in a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
–Field Level Media