After a strong start, Edmonton has struggled at Rexall Place this season. The Oilers’ problems there against the Dallas Stars, meanwhile, have lasted nearly two years.
The Stars, playing the middle game of a road trip, look to win their fifth straight in Edmonton as they face the Oilers on Thursday.
Dallas (25-15-1) has won four straight in Edmonton since a 3-0 loss on Jan. 20, 2004. The Stars extended that streak with a 3-2 win over the Oilers (19-18-2) on Nov. 3.
Dallas now returns to Rexall Place, where Edmonton has lost five of eight after going 10-2-1. The Stars are 2-1-0 against Edmonton this season and picked up a 3-2 win Dec. 23 as Jon Klemm had a goal and an assist.
Dallas began its three-game road trip against Northwest opponents with a 2-1 shootout loss at Vancouver on Wednesday. Marty Turco made 20 saves in regulation and overtime but failed to stop Ryan Kesler’s attempt in the sixth round of the shootout.
“We will take some positives out of this one for sure,” said Turco, who is 10-4-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average in 14 games against the Oilers. “We got the effort we needed, there is no doubt about that.”
Dallas continues to play without forwards Mike Modano (hip), Steve Ott (ankle), Eric Lindros (lower body) and Brendan Morrow. Modano, who is second on the team with 10 goals, practiced with the team on Tuesday, but didn’t travel with the Stars for their road trip.
Edmonton snapped a four-game losing streak with the 1,000th victory in franchise history, a 4-1 win over Florida on Tuesday, snapping a three-game home losing streak in which they allowed 20 goals.
“We needed this,” Edmonton defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said. “It was a much better effort by the team defensively. When you are giving up five, six, seven goals a game, obviously that is not what you are looking for. We can’t expect our team to score nine goals a game.”
Ryan Smyth scored a goal against the Panthers, giving him at least 20 in four straight seasons. Twelve of Smyth’s goals this season have been at home.
Fernando Pisani, Raffi Torres and Ales Hemsky also scored Tuesday for the Oilers, who became the third-fastest team to reach 1,000 wins. Edmonton did it in its 2,114th game, behind only Philadelphia (2,018) and Montreal (2,064).
Petr Nedved is expected to play against the Stars after the Oilers claimed him off waivers from Philadelphia on Tuesday. This is Nedved’s second stint with Edmonton. The 35-year-old center played the final 16 games of the 2003-04 season with 15 points before leaving as a free agent.
“We liked the way he played for us last time he was here,” Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe said. “We’re adding some depth up the middle. He was a good fit last time and we think he can help us out again.”
During an NHL career that started in 1990 with Vancouver, Nedved has 309 goals and 712 points in 963 games. He played 21 games with the struggling Flyers this season and scored one goal. His minus-20 rating was second worst in the league.