Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Five

DALLAS, TX – One more win, and you're in.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded a pair of goals on the power play and defenceman Philip Broberg scored his first career playoff goal in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Friday, leading the Oilers to a 3-1 victory over the Stars at American Airlines Center to leave them one win away from punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final.

"This was probably our best 60-minute effort, and we're going to need more of that because we're going back for Game 6 and they're a good team on the road," Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. "We've treated this game the same as last game – a must-win game – and Game 6 will be a must-win game for us."

The Oilers take the lead in the series with a 3-1 victory over Dallas

The Oilers ended an 0-for-6 streak with the man advantage in the series after Nugent-Hopkins collected his fifth and sixth goals of the playoffs to build his team out to a two-goal lead in the second period, with Evan Bouchard pitching in with helpers on both markers to grow his playoff-leading point total among defencemen to 25 points (6G, 19A) in 17 post-season games.

Broberg buried his first goal in the postseason 4:03 after Nugent-Hopkins nabbed his second during the middle frame, ripping a slapshot through traffic and off the far post to extend Edmonton's advantage to three. The Swede was even tasked with defending a crucial penalty kill late in the second period with Brett Kulak in the penalty box, helping the Oilers match a franchise record with their 25th straight kill after going 2-for-2 on Friday.

"Amazing," Connor McDavid described. "Obviously, a big goal, but not only that, he was skating everywhere and skating pucks out on his own. It could've been a one-man breakout at times, and that's what he needs to do to be successful. His legs are a gift and he's got to use them."

Stuart Skinner stopped 19 of 20 shots, including a few high-danger chances in the final frame, to backstop the Oilers to the Game 5 win behind a confident performance between the pipes from the netminder.

Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Adam Henrique and Evander Kane each produced helpers in the victory that gives Edmonton a 3-2 lead in the series over Dallas, along with the opportunity on Sunday night (6:00 pm MT) at Rogers Place to close out the series and move on to face either the Florida Panthers or the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

"We've given ourselves a chance here, so that's all you can ask for," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I thought we played a great game, a full 60, and now we get the chance to close it out on home ice. It's going to take everything and another effort like we had tonight."

Tony & Jack highlight Edmonton's 60-minute effort in their Game 5 win


The only guarantee for Game 5 was that one of these teams would be pulling to within one victory of reaching the Stanley Cup Final. That was for certain.

Nothing else was set in stone with how we've seen momentum flip-flop in every direction during this Third Round series, but the Oilers felt like it was on their side coming into Friday after they stunned the Stars with five unanswered goals to complete the comeback in their 5-2 victory earlier in the week.

"Everyone talks about momentum in a series. It shifts from game to game," McDavid said. "We were able to put together two good games, and that's all it is. We put ourselves in an opportunity heading home to win a big game, but that's all. We've got a lot of work to do."

The unpredictability we’ve seen over this Western Conference Final extended to the power plays for both the Stars and the Oilers, who between themselves hadn't been able to record a power-play goal in this series until Nugent-Hopkins notched his first of two on Friday with the extra man.

"I think we always have that pressure within ourselves and we expect a lot from each other, so we've been pushing," Nugent-Hopkins said of the power play. "They obviously don't take a lot of penalties. You don't have three, four, five opportunities a game to find your rhythm, so going into tonight we wanted to make sure that if we only got one, we were going to make it count."

Watch the recap of the Oilers victory in Game 5 on Friday night

The Oilers were 0-for-6 on the power play in the series before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins broke Edmonton’s scoreless streak with the man advantage and his own four-game playoff goal drought with his first of the series that came near the three-quarter mark of the period while defenceman Ryan Suter was in the box for roughing.

"The power play was better," McDavid said. "I said earlier that it needed to be a factor and it certainly was today. I thought we got a little bit unlucky the other night, but we found a way to contribute."

McDavid drew the initial penalty against Suter and was inside the left circle when he fed Evan Bouchard at the top of the circles for a Bouch Bomb that was blocked by a sliding Chris Tanev, leading to the puck redirecting into the area of Nugent-Hopkins to stab at the puck on his backhand before it ended up fluttering past netminder Jake Oettinger and inside the near post of to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.

"We had a big faceoff, made a play, got the puck back and Bouchie let one of his bombs go and the puck's just sitting there, but I think it just starts with work and we kind of go from there. I think we're at our best when we're just playing. We obviously have our spots, but it's more of just feeling the right plays in the right situations."

Connor speaks to the media after Friday's Game 5 victory


The heartbeat of this Oilers team just keeps beating on, and on, and on.

"He gets asked to do so much on this team, whether it's on the kill or taking big draws on the kill. He has a big responsibility on the power play," McDavid added about the impact of Nugent-Hopkins. "He's asked to do everything and he just always delivers, and tonight he was big. He was awesome."

Mattias Ekholm characterized Nugent-Hopkins as just that during morning media availabilities on Friday, and the longest-tenured Oiler was back on the scoresheet for a second time early in the middle frame when he finished off another power-play goal for the Blue & Orange to dispel any potential rumours about their world-beating power play’s demise.

After the Stars cleared the puck off the defensive-zone faceoff that followed Miro Heiskanen’s delay-of-game penalty, Bouchard went back to retrieve the puck and throw a full-length pass up the ice to Leon Draisaitl along the blueline near the Oilers’ bench.

The German tossed a backhand across to Nugent-Hopkins, who was alone at the top of the slot to accept the pass and walk in before placing his shot off the post to Oettinger’s glove side and having it nestle inside the twine to make it 2-0 for Edmonton.

Nugent-Hopkins now has three career multi-goal playoff performances after recording the last two in 2022, while his six post-season goals this campaign match his career-high from the same year.

Stuart & Ryan speak to the media following Friday's 3-1 victory

Philip Broberg's evolution from being a 'Black Ace' as playoff insurance for the Oilers into an 'Ace up Edmonton's sleeve' on the third pair has already been quite remarkable since he was inserted into the lineup before Game 4 on Wednesday as one of Coach Knoblauch's impactful lineup changes.

"Obviously, I want to get in, and it was nice to get in the lineup and get a feeling of the playoffs," Broberg said. "So it was fun."

The young Swedish defenceman notched the first playoff goal of his career just over four minutes after the Oilers doubled their lead through Nugent-Hopkins when Adam Henrique pushed the puck up to him at the blueline off an offensive-zone faceoff to uncork a slapshot that Oettinger struggled to track through the traffic before it struck the far post and went in to make it 3-0.

"I was just trying to get it on that, and it was nice to see it go," Broberg said.

"I'm trying to play my game, and I want to make plays out there and make tape-to-tape passes. Sometimes, it doesn't work out and you just kind of keep your head high and do your best out there."

Philip addresses the media after scoring his first playoff goal

The largest celebration for the Swede's goal didn't even look to occur on the ice with Mattias Ekholm looking elated on the Oilers' bench, jumping up and down while screaming in excitement to his teammates after being fired up by his countryman's first goal in the playoffs at a big time in the game.

"Ekholm is great," Broberg said. "He's a leader for this group and helps me because he's a Swede as well. But he's great towards me in the locker room."

Broberg was called upon late in the period to help kill off Brett Kulak's holding penalty, but your goaltender always has to be your best penalty-killer and Stuart Skinner was exactly that, making three saves which included a lights-out stop on Wyatt Johnston right in front of the crease after a Stars' passing play.

"The biggest contribution he had tonight was on the penalty kill," Knoblauch said. "Yes, there were a lot of big saves, and those big saves on the penalty kill, they were able to get some really good looks and Stu was just solid. He was square. He was quick.

"We won 3-1 tonight, and I think that's a little skewed. I don't think we were that much better tonight. I think just the fact that Stu made so many big saves tonight gave us a little bit of cushion and made it look easier than it was for our team. But Stu played a really good game."

Kris addresses the media following Friday's 3-1 win in Game 5


The Oilers would see the victory through to pull ahead 3-2 in the series, and it was all thanks to their solid 60-minute effort despite Wyatt Johnston scoring off a nice deflection with nearly six minutes left in regulation to break up Skinner's shutout.

Skinner kept it intact when he stood up Logan Stankoven with a crucial stop three-and-a-half minutes into the third period. Two minutes later, the Oilers netminder anticipated a cross-crease pass from Johnston that Matt Duchene deflected quickly on goal before it was pushed away by the goalie's chest protector, keeping Edmonton's lead to three.

The Edmonton product came up clutch again on his fellow city native in forward Sam Steel, who opened up for a one-timer in the slot that was turned aside with a quick reaction save from Skinner as the clock rolled over into the final 11 minutes of Game 5.

Despite his efforts, the shutout wouldn't last for Skinner after he was beaten by a deflection from Wyatt Johnston, who took a low shot from Thomas Harley and elevated it into the top corner with the toe of his stick to make it 3-1 with 5:41 left in the third period.

Edmonton's skaters fought heroically alongside their netminder the rest of the way to clear pucks, block shots and turn away any dangerous possession the Stars had in the final minutes – including when they pulled Oettinger for the extra attacker to no avail.

With a 3-1 victory, the Oilers linger only one victory away from reaching their first Stanley Cup Final since 2006, but the job needs to be done on Sunday night in Oil Country when Game 6 goes down at Rogers Place.

"I thought it was as close as it's been [to 60 minutes] in a long time," McDavid said. "I thought right from start to finish, we were dialled in on every detail. There was a lot to like from today."