EDMONTON -- Kris Knoblauch has had a knack for making the right moves since taking over as Edmonton Oilers coach on Nov. 12, and he made a few more in his team’s most important game of the season Wednesday. 

Knoblauch made three lineup changes for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars and was rewarded with a 5-2 win that tied the best-of-7 series 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Dallas on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; MAX, truTV, TNT, SN, TVAS). 

“There’s not a decision I make without consulting five to 12 people,” Knoblauch said following the win. “There’s a lot of talk and it goes on for quite a while. Here, we talked about changing the forwards, and sometimes it’s a little bit easier than other times and sometimes it (the conversation) goes on for quite a while.

“As for the defensemen, we talked to each and every one of my coaches. I do it together, do it individually and then we follow up. Last night I was talking to Paul [Coffey] on the phone to decide what we wanted to do, and we still hadn’t made the decision that night. We made the decision in the morning.”

For Game 4, Knoblauch reinserted forwards Corey Perry and Ryan McLeod for Warren Foegele and Sam Carrick, and brought in defenseman Philip Broberg for Vincent Desharnais. Broberg had yet to play in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

“After talking with everybody and weighing the pros and cons, because there’s pros and cons with every decision, hopefully we make the right one,” Knoblauch said. “They’re tough especially when the stakes are as high as they are right now.” 

Perry had been a healthy scratch for five games before getting the call Wednesday and assisted on the Oilers’ opening goal by McLeod that cut the Stars lead to 2-1 in the first period. Neither had registered a point prior to that, with Perry having played 10 games and McLeod 14. 

McLeod was a healthy scratch in Game 3 on Monday, a 5-3 loss. 

“When you do get pulled out of the lineup, it’s a tough pill to swallow,” Perry said. “But you put that aside and when you get your name called again you come in and you work hard. I think for myself and ‘Clouder’ it was about being hard on the puck and winning battles, and that’s what we were trying to do.”

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Perry and McLeod went from the press box to the second line playing with Leon Draisaitl, who scored to put the Oilers up 4-2 at 15:22 of the second period. 

“I think our depth is good enough that it’s hard for him (Knoblauch) to make these decisions,” Draisaitl said. “If you take someone out, you have someone waiting outside your lineup that’s ready to go that wants to make an impact and is good enough to make an impact. That’s what good teams have and that’s what winning teams have, and obviously ‘Knobber’ has the right lineup decisions most of the time. He’s done a good job.” 

Making three changes to a team that had played well in Game 3 -- outside of a 3:33 stretch in the second period when Edmonton conceded three straight goals after going ahead 2-0 -- took courage for Knoblauch and his staff, consisting of assistants Coffey, Glen Gulutzan and Mark Stuart, and goaltending coach Dustin Schwartz. 

It took similar courage for Edmonton to change goalies in the second round against the Vancouver Canucks, replacing Stuart Skinner with Calvin Pickard in Games 4 and 5, then going back to Skinner for Games 6 and 7. 

“I think he (Knoblauch) is doing a good job. It’s not easy. His first time in the playoffs, and he’s making gutsy calls,” forward Connor Brown said. “Credit to the guys. It’s not easy to come from the press box right into the second line, playing on Leo’s wing. They did an unbelievable job. That line was the best line for us and it was a gutsy win.” 

Mattias Janmark scored the winning goal, converting a pass from Brown on a short-handed 2-on-1 at 14:31 of the second. Brown had been a healthy scratch the first five games and six of seven to start the playoffs. He has since played nine straight. 

“I think players are trying to play their best no matter what the situation is,” Brown said. “Obviously when you get trust from your coach it empowers you, so there is something to be said about that.” 

The lineup changes have created a competitive environment among the Oilers players to stay in the lineup. Broberg will be difficult to pull out for Game 5 having played well in 14:21 of ice time. 

“He gave us everything we wanted,” Knoblauch said. “You never know what you’re going to get from a defenseman coming into a situation like he was in tonight. It’s not an easy place to be, coming in almost in a must-win game. He handled it really well.”