In the second of 3 meetings this month, the Stars will put their streak against the Edmonton Oilers – this time in Edmonton as the Stars go back on the road for tour of Canada that sees them go from Edmonton to Calgary and ending it in Vancouver before heading back home for the final game of January and the third round in what could end up being an epic rivalry coming back to life – if only briefly.
Last game we saw the Stars struggle against a young teams exuberance, but squeaking by with a 3-2 win that goaltending delivered unto them. Look for the Stars to avoid repeating this in an attempt to both play better against a team with a deceptive record. Like most low-ranking teams – they are much better than their stats appear, it’s just how the league is these days.
So, what are the keys to the second meeting between the Stars and Oilers?
The third line and goaltending. The two teams have chips on their shoulders and the third line is the poster child for that type of scenario. If the Stars can out perform that aspect of the game with their third line leading the way, without getting themselves in trouble then I think we will see a victory. However, if the hype dies in the water and it’s “just another game” and the Stars play like they did for much of the last meeting then we are going to see them sink quickly. If that happens then we’re going to have to rely on another showing like we saw against the Thrashers. Dynamic offensive capabilities have a tendency to pull inexperienced teams out of position quickly. Put a defensemen in the mix and suddenly holes open up more than they might against a more adept team.
We know about the Stars win streak, but after the Oilers left Dallas they’ve extended their woes with just one win in the following four games, leaving them due for a win. But, one thing that can be said is that every game is a game the Stars can win this season. They’ve shown that all year. With a few depth guys bruised, we’ll see if Wathier and/or Gagnon get any icetime. If Burrish ends up staying out, then it could be a big hit to the Stars in this game in particular.
If Adam can play he probably will even if his foot isn’t entirely healed. As for Sutherby, they are more likely to keep him out given the nature of his role; allowing younger players that could be the future of the checking line for Dallas some time in the big show.
UPDATE: Lehtonen in goal, Sutherby and Burrish good to go.
Here’s to the hopes of an exciting game that brings back memories of play-offs past.