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Oilers-Stars Preview

By JEFF MEZYDLO

STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- The Edmonton Oilers might be at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but they're faring a little better than the Dallas Stars.

Still searching for their first win of 2014, the Stars hope to snap a six-game regulation losing streak while trying to avoid a third straight home defeat to the lowly Oilers on Tuesday night.

Dallas (20-18-7) has failed to hold a lead in four of its last six games, and for the second time in seven days blew a 2-0 first-period advantage to the New York Islanders during Sunday's 4-2 home loss. Veterans Ray Whitney and Sergei Gonchar each scored for the Stars, who allowed three goals in the final 4:16.

"Any team will tell you, if you sit back in this league and let teams come at you, you are going to run into some problems," Whitney told the Stars' official website.

The frustration continues to mount for the Stars, who have not dropped seven straight in regulation since Nov. 30-Dec. 12, 1989, when the franchise was based in Minnesota. They haven't lost seven in a row in any fashion since an 0-5-2 slide from March 17-30, 2009.

Dallas has allowed 15 goals during a three-game home skid that followed a 4-0-1 stretch there where it yielded nine.

Already one of the league's worst teams converting 12.4 percent of their power-play chances, the Stars have gone 1 of 16 with the man advantage in the last five.

Canadian Olympian Jamie Benn has totaled one goal in five games while leading scorer Tyler Seguin has been held without a point over the same span.

"It's been a little bit of time (for them)," coach Lindy Ruff said. "When you start to press then you start turning the puck over, and that happens."

While Seguin managed an empty-net goal in Dallas' 3-0 win at Edmonton (15-28-5) on Nov. 13, Benn has been held without a point in his last three against the Oilers.

The Stars have earned at least one point in 16 of the last 18 versus Edmonton, but the Oilers followed a 5-1 victory in Dallas last season with a 3-2 shootout win there Dec. 1.

Since that victory, however, the Oilers are 1-7-1 on the road where they dropped their fourth straight, 5-3 at Chicago on Sunday. Boyd Gordon, Ales Hemsky and Taylor Hall each scored as Edmonton led early and remained competitive throughout but could not build on a 4-3 overtime win over Pittsburgh on Friday.

"It's mind-boggling, in the game of hockey, they ebb and flow," said Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins, whose team managed 21 shots and was outshot 19-6 in the second period Sunday. "It goes back to staying with the game plan."

Hall has scored in two straight and three of the last four games while Gordon has recorded three of his career high-tying eight goals in the last five contests.

Hemsky has Sunday's goal along with three assists in four games. He's posted four of each during his last seven against the Stars.

Updated January 13, 2014

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