|DAL||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|EDM||2||1||1||(0 - 0)||4|
EDMONTON, Alberta - Another game in which they sent plenty of shots on net didn't translate into a win for the Dallas Stars, as Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson made 38 saves while thwarting the Stars at every turn in Edmonton's 4-1 victory on Saturday night at Rexall Place.
Roloson was sharp and polished throughout the contest, especially when the Stars increased their desperation level over the final 30 minutes of the game. The effort, though, went for naught, as Roloson frustrated the Dallas shooters while allowing few rebounds.
"This was basically a playoff game," left wing Steve Ott said. "We're fighting with these guys for points. Coming out on the short end is not something we want to do."
Rookie James Neal scored Dallas' only goal, and Marty Turco finished with 15 saves for the Stars, who lost for only the second time in the last five games but failed to continue their climb up from the depths of the Western Conference. The Stars were unable to gain any ground in their chase for the eighth and final playoff spot, and remain three points behind Columbus for the last postseason slot.
"To be a good team we have to bring consistency," an unhappy coach Dave Tippett said. "This was a slap in the face to our team. We gave up two soft goals early and you end up chasing the game. There was not enough push from our side tonight. If we're going to be a good team, we need to push the game harder and we didn't do it."
Down 3-1, the Stars peppered Roloson with 12 shots to start the third period before Andrew Cogliano iced the game with 5:16 left in regulation with his 11th goal of the year.
Not only did Roloson help dig Dallas' grave, the Stars power play didn't help matters either. Coming in, Dallas' power play was firing on all cylinders, converting on seven of its last 26 power-play opportunities.
Adding fuel to that flaming fire was Edmonton's porous shorthanded unit that had erased a mere 68 percent of its opposition power plays over the past eight games.
On cue, the Stars were handed four man-advantage opportunities in the first period, but were unable to capitalize. That failure came back to haunt them, as the Oilers grabbed a 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes after surviving the scare.
Overall, the Stars went 0-for-5 on the power play while the Oilers scored once on their four opportunities.
"These are the games that are really important for us," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We can't let them get a lead like that. We didn't win the battles and we need to do that."
The Stars were also down a skater after Landon Wilson left following a sucker punch by Edmonton's Dustin Penner eight minutes into the contest. Wilson was sent to the ice hard because of the blindside shot, and wound up playing just two shifts.
Sheldon Souray had a goal and assist, and Erik Cole and Penner also scored for the Oilers, who secured their 39th point, two better than Dallas. Edmonton also snapped a two-game losing streak while dishing out 19 hits.
"When we play with a physical edge we're a tougher team to play against," Cole said. "Tonight we did a good job with it."
Up by a pair of goals, Edmonton pushed its lead to 3-0 on the power play when Penner notched his 10th of the year 7:23 into the second period. Souray's blast from the left point went off the left post before landing at the feet of Penner, who banged it home from just to the right of Turco at the edge of the crease.
Dallas cut the lead to 3-1 on Neal's 13th with just 2:14 to go in the second period. After Souray blocked Andrew Hutchinson's shot in the left circle, the puck bounced out to the slot, where Neal neatly deposited it past Roloson.
"We need to crash the net more and work hard and be more consistent," Robidas said. "Every game is important, especially against teams we are fighting for points with. It's not going to get any easier. We have to look at the big picture, but you also have to look at the small picture and focus on every game and every day."
Cole opened the scoring for the Oilers, scoring his seventh of the year at 8:41 of the first period to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead. Cole skated down the right wing into the Dallas zone before letting go a snap shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Turco.
Souray upped the lead to 2-0 with his 12th just 56 seconds later. Off the rush, Souray accepted a pass from Shawn Horcoff just over the Dallas blue line, split defensemen Trevor Daley and Robidas, then flicked the puck past Turco.
Dallas will continue its four-game road trip out west when it takes on the Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday night (10 p.m., FSW). The Canucks have lost three of their last five, including a 4-3 shootout loss to Atlanta on Friday night.
"(The loss) puts a lot of pressure on Vancouver tomorrow night," Ott said. "We played pretty solid last month and we need to get back to that. They put us on our heels with those two quick goals. At the end we had a lot of outside shots and we didn't take advantage of some early power plays. It's disappointing."
--The team was forced to spend the night in Edmonton because of mechanical problems with their plane caused by the bitter cold temperatures that were hovering around minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit.
--Forward Krys Barch was involved in two scraps. He first took on Jason Strudwick in the first period, and followed that with a bout with Zack Stortini with just 16 seconds left in the second period. Both fights ended in a draw.
--Wilson left with an undisclosed injury, and will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
--Defenseman Darryl Sydor is one game shy of 1,200 NHL games.
--The Stars fell to 4-13-4 when allowing the first goal of the game.
--Dallas is now 10-3 over the past 13 games with the Oilers, but have dropped the last two meetings by a combined score of 9-3.
--Dallas has outshot its opponent in five consecutive games.
--Forward Chris Conner, recalled from Peoria of the AHL on Thursday, was a healthy scratch.
|Erik Cole (7) Snap shot - ASST: Sam Gagner (10), Lubomir Visnovsky (18)|
1 - 0 EDM
|Sheldon Souray (12) Snap shot - ASST: Shawn Horcoff (17), Liam Reddox (2)|
2 - 0 EDM
|PPG - Dustin Penner (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Sheldon Souray (16), Shawn Horcoff (18)|
3 - 0 EDM
|James Neal (13) Wrist shot - ASST: Jere Lehtinen (3)|
3 - 1 EDM
|Andrew Cogliano (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Robert Nilsson (7), Sam Gagner (11)|
4 - 1 EDM
|Jason Strudwick Fighting (maj) against Krys Barch|
|Krys Barch Fighting (maj) against Jason Strudwick|
|Shawn Horcoff Hooking against Mike Modano|
|Dustin Penner Fighting (maj) against Landon Wilson|
|Landon Wilson Fighting (maj) against Dustin Penner|
|Ladislav Smid Roughing against Mike Ribeiro|
|Dwayne Roloson Slashing against Steve Ott|
|Gilbert Brule Interference against Stephane Robidas|
|Jere Lehtinen Interference on goalkeeper against Dwayne Roloson|
|Nicklas Grossmann Holding against Erik Cole|
|Stephane Robidas Holding against Gilbert Brule|
|Dustin Penner Holding the stick against Mark Parrish|
|Zack Stortini Fighting (maj) against Krys Barch|
|Krys Barch Fighting (maj) against Zack Stortini|
|Krys Barch Misconduct (10 min)|
|Zack Stortini Misconduct (10 min)|
|Ladislav Smid Roughing against Brian Sutherby|
|Brian Sutherby Roughing against Ladislav Smid|
|Trevor Daley Holding against Erik Cole|
|SA: 19||TOI: 59:38|
|Saves: 15||EV: 12 - 15|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .789||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 39||TOI: 59:21|
|Saves: 38||EV: 31 - 32|
|PIM: 2||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .974||SH: 1 - 1|