Game Day: Thursday January 4th 2007 Game Time: 7:00pm MST Radio: 630 Ched TV: Sportsnet West
The oilers look to even the season series with a win tonight. After a strong start, Edmonton has struggled at Rexall Place this season. The Oilers' problems there against the Dallas Stars, meanwhile, have lasted nearly two years. The Stars, playing the middle game of a road trip, look to win their fifth straight in Edmonton as they face the Oilers on Thursday.
ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton — Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out. Dallas — Mike Modano (lower body) is questionable. Steve Ott (fractured ankle) is questionable. Eric Lindros (lower body) is questionable. Brenden Morrow (wrist) is doubtful.
OILERS TO WATCH: All eyes will be on Petr Nedved tonight as he makes his return to the Oilers lineup after being claimed off re-entry waivers from Philadelphia on Tuesday. Nedved has had a rough go of it this season with only one goal and seven points through 21 games in the NHL. He also has a -20 rating which ranks last in the entire NHL. However, Nedved had a lot of success last time he was in Edmonton. He had three goals in his first four games and six points in his first five outings. The Oilers had a record of 8-5-1 down the stretch with him in the lineup.
STARS TO WATCH: Marty Turco has played nearly every game this season for the Stars as one of the league’s busiest netminders. He has put up some strong numbers with a 20-12-1 record as well as a 2.19 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Since Turco played last night, there's a chance backup Mike Smith might make a rare appearance. He has a 5-3-0 record with a 2.09 GAA… The top two scorers on the Stars are both defencemen – Philippe Boucher (12 goals, 29 points) and Sergei Zubov (7 goals, 27 points)… Mike Modano is close to returning to the lineup. He has been out of action since December 6 with a lower body injury.
FAST FACTS: Heading into last night’s game against Vancouver, the Stars’ power play had scored seven goals in three games for a 41.2% efficiency rating (7-for-17) but they were 0-for-7 last night against the Canucks. Overall, Dallas is 16.9% which is good enough for 18th in the league. Marty Turco is only three wins away from Ed Belfour’s franchise record of 160 wins.
QUOTABLE: "We needed this," Edmonton defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said. "It was a much better effort by the team defensively. When you are giving up five, six, seven goals a game, obviously that is not what you are looking for. We can't expect our team to score nine goals a game."
My keys to the game: The oilers absolutely must get an early lead on the stars. With the league’s best record when leading after the first period, 90-8-7, the Oilers can not afford to let in an early goal or fall behind in the game. Look for the two Petr's to have big games, they have 23 and 21 points respectively in 28 and 27 games against the stars all time. Team them up together and watch out. Bergeron has 2 goals in 3 games against the stars on the season, and with his newfound confidence...i'm sure he will be adding more tonight.
i fully expect a poor performance from the oilers considering their terrible record against rookie or no name goalies and because dallas came off a hard fought loss last night in vancouver.. and cuz i don't think just yet edmonton will put on a streak... i'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst
nedved with an assist on the power play and smyth with another goal..
I can't believe how excited I am to see Nedved in Oilers silks again. Is that weird
There is always some excitement about seeing new players enter the line up. I recall people were nearly jumping out of their seats to see Lupul play on this team. I still like Lupul a ton personally but some of those same people want to send him out on a rail now.
Having said that I really hope Nedved takes off and finds his old fire. But I have some high doubts that it will happen. We will see.