Preview: Stars at Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers bounced back with a vengeance from a ragged performance at San Jose on Tuesday, but the league's most devasting 1-2 punch will have quite an act to follow in Saturday afternoon's matchup against the visiting Dallas Stars. The Oilers made it three wins in four games with a 6-2 drubbing of Colorado on Thursday as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combined for 11 points.
McDavid registered a hat trick en route to a career-high six-point night while Draisaitl collected five assists to push his NHL-best point total to 41 -- four more than Edmonton's captain. “Just another day at the office for them,” linemate Zack Kassian said of McDavid and Draisaitl. “They’re wired differently. They’re the elite of the elite. Edmonton is spoiled to get to watch these two guys every night.” The duo will have to be on its game against the Stars, who have put a 1-7-1 start to the season in the rearview mirror with a sizzling 9-1-1 stretch. "I think we have a lot of skill in our lineup. We have a lot of players who can make plays," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. "But if you don't have the will, your skill doesn't show. We're doing skill and will right now, and I think that makes us a dangerous team."
TV: 4 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Dallas), Sportsnet West (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE STARS (10-8-2): The biggest reasons for the turnaround with Dallas has been its commitment to defense, yielding 18 goals over the last 11 games after the team was punctured for 29 over the first nine. "Stingy defense. It's been our bread and butter since halfway through the year last year," forward Tyler Seguin said. "This year, early on, we were maybe thinking about it too much. But we got back to the natural system, which is defense first, and we're finding greasy ways to win games." Seguin has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 19 meetings versus the Oilers.
ABOUT THE OILERS (13-6-2): Draisaitl set career highs with 50 goals and 55 assists last season and is on pace to eclipse both marks while riding an 11-game point streak he which has scored nine times and set up 16 tallies. Draisaitl, who has two goals and 10 assists in a dozen games versus Dallas, and McDavid became the first pair of Edmonton teammates with at least five points in a game since October 2009. "I wouldn't want to be on the other side but sometimes there's just nothing you can do. He's just too good," Draisaitl said of McDavid. "Sometimes it's just unstoppable."
1. Stars F Joe Pavelski has consecutive two-point games and 24 goals and 29 assists in 54 games against Edmonton.
2. Oilers G Mikko Koskinen was 1-1-1 with a 1.61 goals-against average versus Dallas last season.
3. The Stars have won four of the last five meetings.
PREDICTION: Oilers 3, Stars 2