The Dallas Stars dropped their third game in the last four, falling to the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Stars Were Simply Not Good Enough
The theme after the game was that Dallas was simply not good enough in all three zones against the Oilers. Edmonton racked up 50 shots and tucked in five goals on their way to a fairly dominant 5-2 victory.
“As a group, we can do better in all areas,” Esa Lindell said. “They got a lot of shots today, too many odd-mans. Just the basics. We need to be better with everything.”
Connor McDavid led all skaters with one goal and two assists in the game while both Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz both tallied two points for Dallas. Although that top line scored both goals for the Stars, they were also hemmed in their own zone for a large portion of the game similar to the rest of the lineup. Unfortunately, Dallas had barely gotten into the game when Evander Kane snuck into the slot and ripped home a perfect pass from McDavid just 3:12 into the first period. It was a play that looked relatively harmless but ended up in the back of the Stars net, a recurring theme throughout the night.
“I was jumping from the bench, obviously McDavid has a lot of speed, Radek Faksa said. “So I was doubling him up and hoping someone would pick up Kane but obviously, that was a tough one.”
Wedgewood Kept Dallas Alive
It’s funny to think a goaltender can allow four goals and still be one of the better players on the ice. However, that is exactly what Scott Wedgewood did on Wednesday. Despite allowing four, he made 44 saves in the game and was especially strong in the third period when his team needed him to shut the door. In the second half of the second period, Dallas was outshot 14-3, allowing 21 shots overall in the frame. Wedgewood held his ground and made the saves he should while also stealing a couple of great chances from the Edmonton snipers.
Unfortunately, as has been the case countless times throughout the season, the Stars were unable to find enough offense to support their goaltender.
“They had a lot of jump in their legs tonight, Rick Bowness said of the Oilers. “We’ve got to spend a little more time in their zone, we’ve got to slow them up in the neutral zone, and then we’ve got to end plays quicker in our zone. They were beating us to loose pucks and that’s why they were able to keep moving the puck around the outside. You’ve got to try to end those plays as quick as you can.”
This was the sixth start for Wedgewood since the trade in March, and the 29-year-old has been exactly what the Stars had hoped. The loss to Edmonton was his first in regulation and moved his record to 3-1-2 with Dallas. With Jake Oettinger being a bit inconsistent lately, there is no telling who will get the majority of starts over the last five games. However, with their next matchup coming Thursday in Calgary, expect to see Oettinger in the net.
Loss to Edmonton Hurts Playoff Positioning
While losing out on any points hurts the Stars in the playoff race by itself, a Vegas overtime victory over the Capitals made things even worse. Now, the Golden Knights sit just two points back of Dallas, with one more game played as we enter the final week of the regular season.
“It’s playoffs,” Radek Faksa said. “Obviously, it is disappointing because every game is huge for us. Defensively, we have to tighten up and be stronger around the net especially.”
Dallas does still control its own destiny in this race. They have one more game left, a two-point edge in the standings, and a head-to-head matchup with Vegas on Tuesday at home. Despite all of that though, things just got a heck of a lot tighter than they needed to be and this race may now come down to the final few games.
“We’ve got to get our team game back,” Bowness said. “We will.”
He Said It
“We’ll get it back,” Bowness said. “I have full faith in this group.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Scott Wedgewood, DAL (44 saves on 49 shots)
- Second Star: Zach Hyman, EDM (1 goal, 8 shots)
- First Star: Conor McDavid, EDM (1 goal, 2 assists)
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!