The Dallas Stars will put a three-game home winning streak on the line Tuesday night when they host red-hot Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
McDavid extended his point-streak to 17 games with a goal and an assist in Edmonton’s 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, the third longest point streak to start the season in team history behind only the great Wayne Gretzky, who had a 51-game streak in 1983-84 and a 30-gamer in 1982-83.
McDavid has 12 goals and 20 assists during the streak. Teammate Leon Draisaitl leads the league with 18 goals, including a short-handed one against the Blackhawks, and 35 points.
However, it’s rookie goaltender and Edmonton native Stuart Skinner who has Oilers fans excited these days. With No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith on long-term injured reserve with a leg injury and backup Mikko Koskinen giving up an average of four goals in his last four starts, head coach Dave Tippett turned to 23-year-old rookie Skinner to start the last two games.
Skinner stopped 46 of 47 shots in a 2-1 shootout victory over Winnipeg on Thursday and followed that up with 29 saves in the 5-2 win over Chicago, which saw fans chanting, “Skinner! Skinner!” In five appearances this season, the 78th pick of the 2017 NHL Draft ranks fifth in the league in save percentage (.939) and ninth in goals-against (2.08).
“Skinner was sharp early,” said Tippett. “That was good for him to jump right in there. He had a grade-A chance against him on the first shift (by Patrick Kane) and made the save.
“This was a game where we put him right back in,” Tippett added. “Lots of emotion last game against Winnipeg. Lots of accolades, great game against a really good team. But a young player has to do it the next night, too. That’s what goaltenders who’ve played a long time do. He was very solid.”
Skinner is expected to make his third straight start on Tuesday against a Dallas team that has won three in a row on home ice including a 4-1 victory over St. Louis on Saturday in the first game of a three-game homestand that concludes on Friday against defending Presidents’ Trophy winner Colorado.
The Stars, who are sixth in the Central Division despite a solid 4-2-1 home mark, bounced back from an ugly 7-2 loss at Minnesota to defeat the Blues as goaltender Jake Oettinger made 35 saves and Roope Hintz tied a franchise record with two short-handed goals.
“We needed to get a division win, and we needed to keep winning at home,” said Dallas coach Rick Bowness. “If you want to get back in the hunt, you’ve got to do both, you’ve got to win at home and you’ve got to win some division games, so that was our first one.”
Hintz became the fourth player in Stars/Minnesota North Stars history to score two short-handed goals in a game and the first to do it since the team relocated to Dallas for the 1993-94 season.
“Speed, anticipation, strong on the puck,” Bowman said of Hintz. “(Hintz) can play against anybody in the league, I’m not worried about him. He’s very underrated defensively and he’s one of our best penalty-killers.”
–Field Level Media