In a mighty forgettable loss to Stars, Oilers suffer two key setbacks

John Klingberg had a three point night, Roope Hintz added a goal and an assist as the Dallas Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1.

EDMONTON — A key injury to Duncan Keith and the end to Connor McDavid’s points streak. Those two setbacks and a 4-1 loss made the Edmonton Oilers' trip into Dallas a mighty forgettable one Tuesday night.

Hey – it could have been worse, as a beleaguered Stuart Skinner made some circus stops to stop this one from being a laugher. It was just one of those games: McDavid couldn’t keep the puck on his stick from one zone to the next; the Stars out-checked and outworked Edmonton all over the ice, and Leon Draisaitl had more minor penalties (two) than points (one).

“A few too many penalties,” said defenceman Cody Ceci of the five minors taken by the Oilers. “They got some momentum with some goals on those penalties and changed the whole course of the game.”

Edmonton’s defence was too soft in front of its own net, as the Stars tipped two pucks past a chanceless Skinner, and a usually stout penalty kill gave up two goals, and another just seconds after a Dallas power play had expired.

“I don’t think we deserved as many (penalties) as we got,” groused head coach Dave Tippett.

What does a team do when the minors start adding up?

“You try to kill 'em,” said Tippett, whose penalty killing units were ranked second in the NHL prior to the game. “That’s the difference — we didn’t kill 'em tonight. We gave up two power-play goals — actually three, one right at the end — against a heavy team like that. They got the two power-play goals in the first period and that just allows them to … make it harder on you.”

And the Oilers' power play? To our eye Edmonton deserved the penalties they were assessed, but the Oilers surely could have had a better shake from the zebras on a couple of Stars infractions that went uncalled — particularly a high stick on Ryan McLeod that was missed.

The two calls Edmonton did receive on the night led to power plays that lasted just 35 and the final 19 seconds of the game. Dallas went two-for-five, another statistic that accurately depicted the flow of possession on this night.

“They moved it around well,” Ceci complimented. “It’s a pretty balanced power play. They showed it tonight, but we’ve got to move on pretty quickly. We have another game (Wednesday) night.”

Edmonton is in Arizona Wednesday, where Mikko Koskinen will get the start in goal.

Black and Blue Line

Add another Top 4 defenceman to the injury pile, with Keith leaving Tuesday’s game after two periods with what they are calling an upper-body injury.

Keith made a simple D-to-D pass along the blue line to Tyson Barrie, and immediately bent over in pain. He went to the Oilers bench where trainer T.D. Forss was seen checking Keith’s lower back.

Edmonton is already missing left side D-man Darnell Nurse (broken finger) for at least two weeks, and lefty Slater Koekkoek (ankle), both of whom are on the injured reserve. Keith is also a left-sider.

“The three guys that were on our left-side defence last week are not here right now. That’s a challenge,” assessed Tippett.

William Lagesson is on the trip and will almost certainly draw into the lineup Wednesday in Arizona. He, Kris Russell and Philip Broberg will comprise the left side of the blue-line against the Coyotes, barring a Keith return. Broberg has played two NHL games and Lagesson 27, while it will be the 889th game in Russell’s long career on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Ceci said. “Those (injured) guys eat up pretty big minutes, but ...Broberg has come up and played pretty well for us. He’s a great skater, and he gets his shots through. It’s exciting for him, but it’s tough for us to have those guys all missing.”

Broberg has looked very comfortable through the first two games of his NHL career. And these injuries will ensure that he gets an even longer look than was likely planned, as the smooth skating Swede looks every bit like his billing said he would; big, an excellent skater, and very composed with the puck.

Fun while it lasted

McDavid’s 17-game point streak off the start of the season is the third longest in Oilers team history. We’ll let you guess who had numbers one and two.

Of course, it was Wayne Gretzky, who had a 30-game skein to open the 1982-83 season. Then the very next season The Great One challenged Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hit streak, when he stretched his consecutive games points streak to an NHL-record 51 games.

“His accomplishment so far has been unbelievable,” Tippett said of McDavid. “You know, the streak’s over. Move on.”

McDavid actually had a run of 25-straight games with a point, going back to last season. But it was a night of frustration for No. 97, who just couldn’t find his way through the Dallas traffic often enough to furnish him with the kinds of looks that makes him hockey’s most dangerous player.

He closed out the night with three shots on net and two more attempts in 20:50 of ice time.

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