Like every Oiler other than Taylor Hall, Chris VendeVelde can't squeeze a puck past Dallas Stars' goalie Kari Lehtonen during Edmonton's 4-1 loss to Dallas at Rexall Place on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. DAVID BLOOM/Edmonton Sun
What’s the most important homestand of the season?
Easy, the one that comes right before a nine-game road trip.
And with 20% of it already filed in the wrong column after Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Dallas, the Edmonton Oilers are in the position of almost having to run the table.
“This is a homestand we have to be over .500 on,” said winger Taylor Hall. “We have to get at least six points somehow. That road trip isn’t going to be easy if you look at the teams we’re playing.
“You have to give yourself a head start if you can.”
Right now, it’s 10 other teams that have a head start on the 11th place Oilers, who’ve won just once in the last seven games.
They don’t want to head out on the road for 16 days in 12th or worse because the odds of coming home any higher than that are pretty slim.
And when they do return home, there will only be 22 games left in the season in which to make up any ground.