Jan 7, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley (6) defends against Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall (4) during their game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Oilers 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Game Preview: Stars Begin Their Canadian Roadtrip Against The Edmonton Oilers

The Stars are keeping things safe and consistent, ready to roll with the team that has been 4-0-1 in the last five outings. Tonight is an enormous opportunity for the Stars to gain some crucial ground in the playoff race. With San Jose’s recent struggles, the Stars can tie the Sharks in points tonight and move within just two points of the division lead. That #3 seed is suddenly completely attainable and you know that’s going to add even more motivation for each and every player on the ice. The Oilers, on the other hand, are sitting in the bottom of the Western Conference for yet another year. They’ve been relatively unimpressive down the stretch, but it’s obvious to anyone who knows hockey that this is a team that’s going to be a contender in a couple years time, so if there’s a time to take advantage, it would be now.

As far as lineups go, there’s no news to report for Dallas, who will be using the same lines and roster that was used Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. For the Oilers, starting goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will be returning tonight after a groin injury had kept him sidelined since February 19th, continuing the trend of injured players liking to return against Dallas. Khabibulin, who had a spectacular start to the season, has fallen back into his normal less than impressive winning percentage thanks to the struggling Oilers’ defensive corp and inexperience on offense.

The Stars have dominated the Oilers in recent years, with a shining 8-1-2 record in the last 11 outings against Edmonton, and there will be a couple players looking to keep some streaks going through tonight. Mike Ribeiro is on a eight-game point streak, the longest any Dallas Star has had this year, and Michael Ryder will be looking to continue to score at his rapid rate.

Another night, another two points, it’s the same story for the Stars tonight, and it’s up to them to go out and take care of business. The game will be televised on FSSW+ tonight, so get out to your favorite establishment if you don’t get the channel, you don’t deserve to miss out on some Pesky Stars hockey. Puck drop is at 8:30pm, so get going!

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Tags: Dallas Stars Edmonton Oilers Kari Lehtonen Michael Ryder Mike Ribeiro Nikolai Khabibulin Taylor Hall

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