Hockey Night in Canada's Kelly
This series is going to be a real war.
Dallas is clearly the favourite. Their team is so deep.
They're a tough team to play against. Even though they
have a lot of talent they are really gritty.
For the Oilers, one positive is that from their past
history against the Stars in the playoffs, there is
already that hatred so they don't have to manufacture
any. I think that's an important factor.
Prediction: Dallas wins series in six games.
Western Conference picks | Harry
Neale's Eastern Conference picks
Dallas Stars regained their perch atop the Pacific
Division after a forgettable 2001-02 season. Last
year, the Stars missed the playoffs for the first
time since 1995-96 and fired former head coach
Ken Hitchcock in the process.
It was a different story in 2002-03.
new head coach Dave Tippett, the Stars made a
21-point improvement en route to the best record
in the Western Conference.
Stars' strength started between the pipes, where
Marty Turco assumed the top role from the departed
Ed Belfour. Turco was sensational in his first
full season as the No. 1 man. He set a modern
record for goals-against average with a 1.72 mark,
despite missing almost six weeks with an ankle
injury. Turco lost just once in his final 21 starts.
Modano led Dallas in scoring for the fifth straight
season with 85 points. The Stars also had a handful
of other scoring options up front. Bill Guerin,
Jere Lehtinen, Jason Arnott, Brendan Morrow and
Scott Young all notched 20+ goals.
who signed a lucrative free-agent deal in the
off-season, collected 25 goals and 25 assists
in 64 games before suffering a severe right thigh
bruise. He is expected to return sometime late
in the first round of the playoffs.
Edmonton Oilers' season was filled with peaks,
valleys and streaks. Edmonton struggled in October,
beginning the year with just two victories in
its first 10 outings.
a few steady months of production, the Oilers
vaulted back into playoff contention early in
the New Year. However, a nine-game winless skid
in February jeopardized the team's postseason
manager Kevin Lowe then made a pair of controversial
swaps at the NHL trade deadline, shipping out
Anson Carter, the team's leading scorer, and crafty
defenceman Janne Niinimaa. The moves made many
hockey observers wonder if the Oilers would be
able to secure a postseason berth. Lowe's trades
had a positive impact on the club.
The addition of Radek Dvorak, Brad Isbister and
Cory Cross helped Edmonton earn a point in 10
straight games. Edmonton lost just two regulation
affairs in 16 games in March.
Oilers dealt with their own injury woes in 2002-03,
with forwards Ryan Smyh and Mike Comrie missing
a combined 29 contests. Both are healthy heading
into the postseason.
Tommy Salo was once again the Oilers' rock between
the pipes. Although his personal stats slipped
a bit, the dependable Swede made 65 appearances
for the fourth straight season.
Dallas won the season series 3-1-0-0
Stars-Oilers pairing is one of the classic matchups
of the past decade. The clubs have met in six of the
past seven seven postseasons in a number of edge-of-your-seat
Stars have taken four of the last playoff meetings and
captured the 2002-03 season series 3-1. The Stars won
the first three games of the season, allowing just four
Edmonton goals along the way. But the Oilers took the
last encounter, a thrilling 4-3 victory on March 15
in which recently-acquired forward Brad Isbister potted
a goal and got into a fight.
current Oiler mustered more than two points total against
the Stars this season, while Mike Modano paced Dallas
with five points.
» (6) Minnesota
vs (7) Anaheim
Ottawa vs (2) New Jersey
react after winning their third Stanley Cup in the last decade.