DALLAS -- Winger J.F. Jacques has completed his conditioning stint in Springfield and will join the club in Dallas.
He's always been on the Oilers active roster, but now he's ready to get in the lineup for real. Head coach Craig MacTavish is still debating whether to dress Jacques or Steve MacIntyre against the Stars tonight.
"I'll talk to Rob (Daum, Springfield coach) and see what he thought of him," said MacTavish. "Statistically he did OK - had a goal and five assists and a fight in eight or nine games."
Out for more than a year after a back injury and subsequent surgery, Jacques brings a lot of potential with his comeback.
"We all know J.F.'s strengths," said MacTavish. "He's a good skater, he's a big body, he's tough and he bangs. He's got to find a way that the play is not dying with him consistently. If he does that he's going to help us."
The Oilers are 2-1 against the Stars this year, and have exorcised most of their Dallas demons.
There was a stretch not long ago where Edmonton lost 14 games in a row in Texas, a seven year drought that you could set a watch by. But they're a respectable 3-4-2 over the last five years.
"For us right now it doesn't matter who we're playing or how we've done against them in the past," said Tom Gilbert. "It's more playing the same way we've been playing over the last month."
Both Edmonton victories over Dallas came at home, when the Stars were struggling with all of Sean Avery's baggage. They're better now.
"They're a better team now than they were earlier in the season, they're obviously feeling a lot better about their game, too," said Gilbert, adding the Oilers are, too.
"Every game is a new game; you forget about what's happened in the past."
Separated by just one point, it's no longer the Haves vs. the Have Nots when Dallas and Edmonton meet.
"We've always gone in there viewing the game as winnable but we're a lot closer in the standings now than we have been in a long time," said MacTavish. "At this point it's a very meaningful game and we're playing well enough to win.
"It's still a tough building, but maybe not as intimidating as it used to be when they had the Stanley Cup teams."
POULIOT TO SIT?
If MacIntyre of Jacques draws in, it'll be at the expense of Marc Pouliot, who hasn't brought much to the table in the last few weeks. Not a lot of points (four in 11 games), not a lot of intensity.
"He does it at stretches, but he doesn't have enough control over his game right now," said MacTavish, who'd like to see Pouliot make things happen instead of waiting for them to happen.
"If the right situation falls to him he can capitalize on it but he doesn't have enough control to put himself in those situations. If it doesn't fall to him he's not a factor a lot of nights."