Thursday, February 28, 2013
Edmonton Oilers 5, Dallas Stars 1
Stars decide not to play defense, somehow lose.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars continued their recent streak of forgetting how to play basic defense Thursday night at the American Airlines Center, losing 5-1 to the Edmonton Oilers. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak against the Oilers, an 11-game streak of scoring at least three goals and dropped Dallas to 10-9-2 on the season. Edmonton improved to 8-7-4.
It was the first time in six games that Dallas had their starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen back, but the big Finn was far from competent, surrendering several terrible goals from sharp angles. The first awful goal came just 1:13 into the game, when Sam Gagner's shot from behind the blue line eluded Lehtonen and snuck into the net for an early 1-0 hole. The Stars dominated the Oilers for long stretches of the period after that, outshooting them 15-10, but Edmonton was the next to strike when Justin Schultz crept down to the net from his defensive spot, took a cross-ice pass from Jordan Eberle and chipped in his fifth of the year for the 2-0 lead.
Dallas predictably got into serious penalty trouble in the second period, giving the Oilers two extended 5-on-3 powerplays, but the Stars killed them both off. Dallas had three straight powerplays between the 5-on-3s but could not cash in. The middle frame appeared to be ending as a scoreless one until 19:46, when Jeff Petry skated down the left side and launched a desperation heave into the crease, which deflected off of Stars defenseman Trevor Daley and in for a backbreaking 3-0 lead.
Stephane Robidas took an ill-advised hooking call as soon as the third period started and the Oilers finally cashed in, going up 4-0 50 seconds into the final frame on Alex Hemsky's 8th of the season. Ben Eager stretched it to 5-0 midway through with his first of the year, and Jaromir Jagr scored a garbage goal to prevent the shutout with five minutes left.
Lehtonen was extremely rusty in his first game back from injury, making just 33 saves on 38 shots. Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk was stellar, particularly in the first two periods, defeating Dallas for the first time in his career by stopping 33 of the 34 shots he faced.
Dallas's next game is Sunday afternoon at the AAC, where they will face the 10-7-2 St. Louis Blues.