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DALLAS -- Connor McDavid feels the Edmonton Oilers let an opportunity slip against the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

Up 1-0 in the best-of-7 series, Edmonton had an outstanding opening period, outshooting Dallas 16-4, but went into the first intermission tied 1-1 and was unable to maintain momentum through the next two periods in a 3-1 loss.

Game 3 is at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, TNT, truTV, MAX).

“I thought it was close all game long,” said McDavid, the Oilers captain. “I thought we had a good start. It was a good response by ‘Brownie’ (Connor Brown) and his whole line. You never like to lose. We had a big opportunity here tonight and we didn’t capitalize.”

Edmonton fell behind 1-0 on the first shot on goal by Dallas at 3:39 of the first period. Jamie Benn kept the puck on a 2-on-1 with Logan Stankoven and beat goalie Stuart Skinner from the top of the right face-off circle.

The Oilers weren’t down for long. Brown tied it 1-1 just 44 seconds later on the rebound of a redirection from Cody Ceci.

From that point, the Oilers dominated the period and had a number of excellent opportunities to take the lead but were unable to get the puck past Stars goalie Jake Oettinger again.

“We came out of that period in a good spot, and it was just about building, and overall, in the game, they just got one more bounce than us,” Brown said. “They’re a good team. They came with a good push. We know we can be better, so we’re just going to gear up for Game 3.”

Edmonton entered the game 6-0 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when tied after the first period. However, the Oilers are now 0-3 when tied after two periods.

“More goals (in the first) would have been nice and it would have set us up easier to go on from there,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “They’re going to make their plays and we can’t dictate the entire story, but I thought our start was real good.”

Territorial play evened out in the second period and neither team was able to score, which set up another opportunity for Edmonton to take command of the series by winning the third period.

A redirection by Mason Marchment 3:41 into the third, however, gave Dallas the lead, and Edmonton was not able to generate much offense the rest of the way. The Oilers gave up a third goal, to Esa Lindell, into an empty net at 17:57 with Skinner pulled for an extra attacker.

“Anytime you play fairly well and you have your opportunities to score, it would have been nice to come out of here 2-0,” Knoblauch said. “Obviously Dallas has a lot to say about that and I thought the story of the night was the play of two goaltenders. We only got one goal, but the chances we had and the chances they had, it could have been a very high-scoring game. I think we could have come out of here with two games, but obviously, it’s just one.”

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Dallas defended Edmonton well in the third period. The Stars did a good job of getting sticks in passing lanes to break up attacks and blocked 22 shots in the game. Neither McDavid nor forward Leon Draisaitl had a point, which was a first in the playoffs this season. Draisaitl had his 13-game point streak from the start of the playoffs end.

“They’re a good team and they defend well,” McDavid said. “They’ve been doing a good job of getting in passing lanes, shooting lanes.”

Despite the disappointment of losing Game 2, Edmonton still came out of Dallas in a good spot and took home-ice advantage. The Oilers are 4-2 in the playoffs at Rogers Place and have the NHL’s top-ranked power play at home in the postseason (38.1 percent). Edmonton was 0-for-2 on the power play in Game 2 and is 0-for-3 in the series.

“We’re back in our barn. It’s going to be exciting,” Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “We’re going to try and use the energy from our fans and keep building our game. We got in here, we got our split and we feel good about that, but now it’s time to raise our level when we get home and dictate the game.”

Edmonton was swept by the Colorado Avalanche in its last trip to the conference final in 2022, so the Oilers already are better off through two games this time. 

“If you told me four or five days ago that we can come in here and split against Dallas, who just knocked out Vegas and Colorado, two really good teams, and for us to come into their building where they played very well and split [with] them, we would have taken it," Knoblauch said. "It’s a little more bitter when you win the first one and lose the second one, but we’re just excited to go back to Edmonton and play on our home ice.”

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