Stars Look to End Slide vs. Oilers

Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 1:54 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Look to End Slide vs. Oilers

It looks like Kari Lehtonen will be in goal for the Dallas Stars tonight as they take on the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center.

Based on this morning’s skate, they’ll roll out of the same group of forwards and defensemen.

They Stars will be trying to end a six-game losing streak, the longest for the team since the 1995-96 season.

“We’re sticking together,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “You are going to go through adversity in any year, and we’ve hit it right now. The only way we are going to get out of it is to stick together and push through.”

With the Stars struggling, there were plenty of topics for discussion during head coach Lindy Ruff’s media session.

Ruff said the team’s power play needs to get on track. It ranks 29th in the league at 12.4 percent. In Sunday’s loss to the Islanders, it was 0-2 and didn’t register a shot on goal.

“Our entries, which were good at the start of the year, our execution, was very poor and once we get in the zone, when you struggle you’ve got to go with a shoot-first mentality,” Ruff said. “Even when we got to the zone and walked to the top of the circle and we had a wide open shot, we decided to pass it and my blood pressure went up a little bit.”

Ruff was asked if has considered splitting up Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Benn has one goal in the last five games and Seguin has no points during that stretch.

“Getting close to that and I think that they had six chances that line the other night. [Erik] Cole was in on a couple of beauties and Tyler had two and Benner had two. If the chances were down, you would probably go to that tonight,” Ruff said, “but I thought maybe one area they need to clean up is they had a few turnovers when they hit the opposition line that prevented them from creating some other opportunities. I think we wouldn’t even be talking about it if Coler finishes the breakaway chance that hits the crossbar and a couple other good chances.”

Ruff said rookie forward Valeri Nichushkin has been hurting recently and his energy level has been a little low.

“Val, he was hurting a little bit. Going into last game, didn’t even know if he was going to play,” Ruff said. “Even in the New York game, as a young player he just seemed tired. He was getting knocked down. Trying to keep him fresh, drop his minutes down a little bit, get more in less time but I’d like to see him battle through it. I don’t want to take him out of the lineup. He expressed that he was tired and didn’t feel very strong, but I’d like to see him battle through it a little bit too.”

Rome update

Defenseman Aaron Rome, who miss Sunday’s game with a lower body injury, did not skate Tuesday morning. Stars coach Lindy Ruff indicated Rome would be out a while.

“He’s going to be out a bit,” Ruff said. “He’s got a lower body and he’s got to get through it again.”

Tuesday’s game

Who: Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinErik Cole
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyVernon FiddlerAlex Chiasson
Shawn HorcoffRich PeverleyValeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Brenden DillonJordie Benn
Kevin Connauton
Sergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

Oilers projected lineup

Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Sam Gagner
Nail Yakupov – Mark Arcobello – Jordan Eberle
David Perron – Boyd Gordon – Ales Hemsky
Luke Gazdic – Ryan Smyth – Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference – Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz – Anton Belov
Jeff Petry – Martin Marincin

Ilya Bryzgalov
Devan Dubnyk

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 53 32 18 3 146 124 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
7 COL 57 28 25 4 153 158 60
8 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 54 28 33 16 61
T. Seguin 54 28 30 11 58
J. Klingberg 54 9 35 15 44
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 54 16 24 -1 40
A. Goligoski 54 4 20 17 24
C. Eakin 54 10 13 1 23
M. Janmark 54 10 10 13 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 51 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 14 5 0 .909 2.82
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