(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars have come crashing down defensively in losing back-to-back games for the first time since late December. They'll try to avoid a third straight loss this evening when they welcome the Edmonton Oilers to American Airlines Center.
The Stars yielded just six goals over a five-game win streak from Jan. 9-20, but have been shelled for seven goals in each of their last two setbacks. Three days after Andrew Raycroft gave up all seven goals in a 7-4 loss to the Flames, Kari Lehtonen was tagged for seven goals on 33 shots in a 7-1 setback in Vancouver on Monday. Raycroft relieved Lehtonen late in the game and made three saves.
"He didn't have a good night tonight but we didn't give him any help," said Dallas head coach Marc Crawford about Lehtonen. "Tonight was a total team collapse and as the head coach I have to take responsibility cause I didn't have them ready."
Brad Richard had the lone goal for Dallas, which has dropped consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 29-31 and hasn't suffered three losses in a row since Nov. 6-12.
The Stars also suffered a pair of injuries versus the Canucks as forwards Tom Wandell and Jamie Benn left early with undisclosed injuries. Those two are questionable for tonight along with defenseman Jeff Woywitka (shoulder).
Dallas is still three points ahead of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division and is 3-0-1 at home this month. The Stars will host the Canucks on Tuesday after the All-Star break.
Lehtonen is 3-1-0 with a 2.77 goals-against average versus the Oilers, who the Stars have bested in four straight and 12 of the past 16 meetings. Edmonton has also lost two straight and seven of its last eight in Dallas.
The Oilers are also coming off just their third victory in 17 games last night, an exciting 4-3 victory over the Coyotes. Taylor Hall and Linus Omark scored 72 seconds apart early in the third period before Dustin Penner put home the game-winner with 21.3 seconds left in regulation.
"In the past we might have given up too much ice to our opponent," said Edmonton head coach Tom Renney. "Tonight, I thought we kept pressing."
Hall set up Penner's one-time game-winner as the Oilers snapped a five-game winless streak.
It is unknown if Renney will start Devan Dubnyk again tonight or go back to Nikolai Khabibulin. Dubnyk made 24 saves in Tuesday's win, but is 0-2-0 with a 5.03 GAA in two games versus the Stars, yielding 10 goals on 67 shots.
Khabibulin, meanwhile, has lost his last 10 starts overall and hasn't won since Dec. 16. He has been in net for both setbacks to the Stars this season, yielding six goals on 43 shots.