NHL Free Pick: Edmonton Oilers vs Dallas Stars
Edmonton Has an Edge Tonight
The Edmonton Oilers (13-11-2) are set to play the Dallas Stars (14-10-3) on Monday, December 3 at 8:30 ET. In the Stars’ most recent game they recorded a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. They are 5-4-1 in their last ten and currently sit fourth in the Central Division. The Oilers won their third straight game 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night. Edmonton currently sits at fifth in the Pacific Division and owns a 5-4-1 record in their last ten contests. In our Stars play Oilers free pick, we see goaltending playing a large role in the outcome of this game along with the recent offense struggles of both clubs.
The Dallas Stars will send Anton Khudobin to defend their cage against Edmonton. Khudobin has had an alright season thus far, putting together a 2.86 GAA and a .911 save percentage. He played well in the last meeting between these two teams allowing a single goal on 31 shots. He has been inconsistent at times, but looked good in his last two outings. Dallas will need another good game out of the Russian netminder as they go up against Connor McDavid.
Mikko Koskinen is slated to start for the Oilers. Koskinen has had a terrific start to his first NHL season since 2011. His play coupled with the struggles of Cam Talbot have led to him taking over the starting job for Edmonton. He owns a .928 save percentage and a 2.16 GAA through 11 starts. He has started the last three games for his team, allowing 3 goals on his last 92 shots faced. The first of these three games was a shutout of the Stars in a 1-0 victory. He has looked very good and will be tough to beat.
Dallas’ Depleted Blueline
Dallas’ blueline has been hit by the injury bug, with the club currently missing three of their top six defensemen. Despite this they have looked fairly solid. In his last five games Rookie Miro Heiskanen has four points and a +4 rating. Call up Gavin Bayreuther has played a large role in filling the holes left by injuries. He has averaged 20:27 minutes per game through his first nine career NHL contests. He currently has a +3 rating and four points. Despite this D-corps playing fairly well against the Oilers in their last meeting, it is never an easy matchup against Connor McDavid.
Top Heavy Offenses Faceoff
Edmonton’s offense has been cold as of late. Over their last five games they have scored just nine total goals. Their stars have been producing all season, but the teams’ lack of scoring depth has shown all year. The team is 26th in scoring despite Connor McDavid (14-21-35), Leon Draisaitl (13-16-29), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6-18-24) all putting up solid numbers. They have lacked offensive production from everywhere in their lineup besides their top line.
Dallas has suffered from similar problems this season. The scoring in their lineup is just as top heavy as Edmonton’s. Most of the Stars’ scoring has come off of the sticks of their top line. Tyler Seguin (8-18-26), Jamie Benn (11-12-23), and Alexander Radulov (9-12-21) have all been solid. The only other forwards on their roster to have hit double digits in points are Devin Shore (5-8-13) and Jason Spezza (5-10-15). Both have struggled recently though. Shore has gone pointless in his last four games while Spezza has a single point in his last six.
Stars Play Oilers Free Pick
This game should be close. Both clubs have had fairly similar year as they have relied too heavily on their top players for offensive production. This looks to have finally caught up to both teams as they have struggled scoring in their recent games. The advantage in net for this game definitely goes to the Oilers. Khudobin has played okay, but Koskinen has been stellar. We also see the Stars’ depleted blueline factoring into this game. While Dallas’ fill-ins have played well, we believe that a matchup against Connor McDavid will be tough for them. They were able to hold him in check in their last meeting, but shutting him down twice will be tough. In our Stars play Oilers free pick, we see Edmonton squeaking a win out against Dallas.