Edmonton saw its bid for its first 4-0 start since 1985 end with a 3-1 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday. The Oilers failed to convert any of their six power-play chances and allowed the Kings to score twice with the man advantage.
“I think it was bound to happen. I mean, you’re eventually going to lose,” defenseman Chris Pronger said. “What’s important is how we respond to the loss. That’s going to be critical for us. The makings of winning teams are how they return from a loss.
“We played three solid games and this is probably our worst of the four. We needed to come up with a better effort. But for the most part, I think everybody’s pretty pleased with our start.”
Edmonton entered the game ranked fourth in the league on the power play, but struggled without star left wing Ryan Smyth, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left knee.
Oilers coach Craig MacTavish didn’t read too much into the power-play struggles. Instead, he was happy to see his team take the body more.
“At least we got some physical penalties,” MacTavish said. “We’ve been taking a lot of penalties, but at least there were some aggressive ones. Special teams have been winning us games, but their penalty kill did a very good job against our power play.”
However, MacTavish was not happy about his team getting off to a slow start for the second straight game. The Oilers managed only two of the game’s first 12 shots, after allowing two goals in the first period of a 4-2 victory at Anaheim on Monday.
The Oilers hope to have Todd Harvey back in the lineup on Friday. The veteran left wing has missed the last two games with a bruised right foot.
Dallas opened a two-game trip through Alberta with a 3-2 overtime victory at Calgary on Thursday. Philippe Boucher scored the game-winner with 55 seconds left in the extra session and Mike Modano assisted on all three goals.
With the goal, Boucher has at least one point in all four games, matching his career-high point streak set from Dec. 13-20, 2001, while he was with Los Angeles.
With Marty Turco starting the first four games in goal for Dallas, coach Dave Tippett said backup Johan Hedberg will likely make his Stars debut Friday. Hedberg is 3-0 with a 0.99 goals-against average in three career starts against the Oilers.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 12): Stars - 4 points, 2nd place (tied), 2 PB, Pacific Division. Oilers - 6 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Boucher, Jere Lehtinen and Sergei Zubov, 2 goals; Modano, 5 assists and 6 points; Jason Arnott, 23 PIM. Oilers - Raffi Torres, 4 goals; Ales Hemsky, 4 assists; Shawn Horcoff, 6 points; Ethan Moreau, 12 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 12): Stars - Power play: 9.1 percent (2 for 22), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (18 for 22), 19th. Oilers - Power play: 21.4 percent (6 for 28), 7th. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (27 for 32), 15th.
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Stars, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: March 24, 2004; Stars, 4-3 (OT). At Edmonton, Alberta, Bill Guerin scored 3:11 into sudden death for his second overtime goal of the season against the Oilers. He also scored in the extra session in the Stars’ 5-4 win on Feb. 29, 2004, in Dallas.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Stars - 1-0-0 on the road; Oilers - 2-0-0 at home.