Oilers’ Struggles to Continue in Matinee Tussle at Dallas

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 5, 2018 3:41 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 3:41 PM UTC

Need something to keep you occupied betting-wise Saturday before the first NFL wild-card game kicks off? The Edmonton Oilers visit the Dallas Stars with a 3 p.m. ET puck drop.

Edmonton Oilers at Dallas StarsFree NHL Pick: Stars -145Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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It's a 3 p.m. ET start time from Dallas on Saturday. If the Oilers and Stars play again this season, it would have to be in the Stanley Cup playoffs and that’s looking incredibly unlikely. This is the finale of three regular-season meetings.

Edmonton took the first matchup 5-4 at home on Oct. 26. Second-year defenseman Matt Benning has just seven career goals and one of those was the game-winner with 2:27 left in the third. Teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the No. 1 star with two goals. Leon Draisaitl had three assists and Cam Talbot 28 saves. Ben Bishop was in net for Dallas and stopped 30 shots. Jamie Benn had two goals.

On Nov. 18 in Dallas, the Stars won 6-3. Goalie Kari Lehtonen was yanked early in the second period after allowing three goals on 12 shots and Ben Bishop blanked the Oilers the rest of the way. Antoine Roussel had a goal and two assists and Benn had a goal and an assist. Oilers star Connor McDavid had a goal and two helpers.

The home team has won seven of the past nine in this series – Edmonton has just nine wins in its past 45 trips to Big D. The total has gone ‘over’ in four straight meetings.

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Can Oilers Get It Going?

When the 2017-18 season opened, Edmonton was the favorite to win the Western Conference after reaching the conference semifinals last year behind the superstar McDavid, who won the first of what likely will be multiple Hart Trophies. For whatever reason, the Oilers just can’t get out of neutral and aren’t even close to a wild-card spot as things stand.

Edmonton (18-20-3) did end a four-game losing streak Thursday with a 2-1 shootout win over visiting Anaheim so maybe that’s a start after being outscored 10-0 in the previous two games. Nugent-Hopkins scored the shootout winner and Kris Russell had the regulation goal. McDavid had an assist, his first point in four games. That had been the longest drought in his young career. McDavid is having a solid season with 14 goals and 32 assists, but he’s not going to repeat as the Hart Trophy winner without a huge second half of the season. McDavid has seven goals in six career games vs. Dallas.

The Oilers will be without forward Patrick Maroon as he serves the second of a two-game suspension. He laid a dirty hit on Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty on Tuesday. Maroon is fifth on the team in scoring with 21 points (nine goals) and first with 53 penalty minutes.

Dallas (23-16-3) is 3-1 on a six-game homestand following a 4-3 victory over New Jersey on Thursday. Tyler Seguin is one of the best forwards in the NHL, yet his short-handed goal in that one was the first of his career – to be fair, he is almost never on the penalty-kill unit. He leads the team with 20 goals. The Stars have three excellent forwards in Seguin, Benn (16 goals, 22 assists) and Alexander Radulov (15 goals, 20 assists) as well as a Norris Trophy candidate in 25-year-old John Klingberg, who leads all defensemen with 36 points. There’s not much after them. Expect a big game from Benn as he has 29 points (17 goals, 12 assists) in 27 career games against Edmonton.

The Stars got two players back from injury on Thursday in defenseman Marc Methot, who had missed 26 games with a knee injury, and forward Martin Hanzal, who missed three with a lower-body injury. Hanzal has been a free-agent bust thus far with seven points and minus-10 rating. He did have an assist Thursday.

Easy call here on the Stars as the NHL pick with the early start benefiting the home team as it is, and Dallas is an excellent 15-5-1 at home.

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