Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two

DALLAS, TX – The Stars secured a split of the first two games of the Western Conference Final with the Oilers after evening the series at one game apiece on Saturday night with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 at American Airlines Center.

"It would've been nice to come out of here up 2-0, but Dallas had a lot to say about that," Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. "I thought the story tonight was the play of the two goaltenders. We only got one goal, but with the chances we had and the chances they had, it could've been a very high-scoring game."

"I think we could've come out of here with two wins, but obviously, it's just one."

Connor Brown tied the score in the opening period with his first goal of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs just 44 seconds after Jamie Benn opened the scoring for Dallas, but after both teams waged a scoreless second frame, the Stars got the go-ahead goal 3:41 into the final stanza on a deflection delivered off the stick of forward Mason Marchment before they were able it down defensively the rest of the way by getting sticks into passing lanes and blocking shots.

The Stars finished the night with a 22-9 advantage in blocks and 31-20 in hits despite Edmonton holding the slight advantage in shots 29-25.

Defenceman Cody Ceci and forward Warren Foegele recorded an assist each in the defeat, while netminder Stuart Skinner had his three-game win streak in the playoffs snapped after making 22 saves. Dallas' final goal was an empty-netter from defenceman Esa Lindell with just over two minutes left in the third period.

Leon Draisaitl had his 13-game point streak to begin the playoffs come to an end, falling one short of tying Mark Messier's franchise record.

Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 28-of-29 shots to backstop the Stars to victory in front of their fans, but the Oilers have home-ice advantage now in a series that's become a best-of-five as we head to Oil Country for Game 3 at Rogers Place on Monday at 6:30 pm MT.

The Oilers drop Game 2 & return home with the series tied at 1-1


The Oilers came out for Game 2 and imposed themselves right away on the Stars after their captain Connor McDavid set the early tone with a scoring chance, a hard backcheck and a heavy hit on defenceman Chris Tanev along the benches all during the opening shift of Game 2.

"You've got to make it difficult on them and keep forechecking hard like we have been. Keep getting and taking pucks to the net," McDavid said. "Just keep making it hard on those D-men."

Edmonton's forecheck created plenty of turnovers that resulted in scoring chances and a 16-5 shot advantage for the Blue & Orange through the opening 20 minutes, but the night's first major action would go against them after Benn chipped the puck past a cheating Ceci at the Dallas blueline to create a two-on-one for the Stars' captain with Wyatt Johnston.

Benn looked off the sophomore winger and sent his well-placed shot from inside the right circle over the right pad of Stuart Skinner for a 1-0  lead on their first shot of the contest that came only 3:39 into the opening frame.

Dallas defeats Edmonton in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final

It took only 44 seconds for the Oilers to respond when three Stars' skaters were caught behind the red line during a quick transition by the Blue & Orange to create a two-on-two for Connor Brown and Cody Ceci, with the defenceman splitting the D and heading toward the Dallas net to try and get there in time to redirect the winger's pass.

Oettinger pushed the first chance into the path of the on-rushing Brown, who intercepted the puck and fought off pressure before sliding his first goal of the playoffs through the five-hole of the Stars' goaltender, picking up his second career post-season goal and his first since Apr. 21, 2018 when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I thought it was close all game long, really," McDavid said. "I thought we had a good start. It was a great response by Brownie and his whole line, but I thought it was tight. They're a good team and they defend well. They've been doing a good job of getting in the passing lanes and shooting lanes. Two good teams went at it, and like I said, they defended well."

The Oilers continued to turn pucks over with their determined forecheck that created plenty of possession and a few more moments for Oettinger in the crease before the period ended, beginning with Evander Kane's chance before the midway mark that he couldn't believe he didn't finish off after trying to flip a loose puck over the right pad of the Oettinger in the crease.

Ryan McLeod couldn't stuff in a loose puck that took forever to be frozen by Oettinger with under six and a half minutes left in the first period after the official refused to blow the whistle while the puck was still available under the netminder's blocker, leading to a long scramble inside the blue paint before Oettinger froze the play on the next sequence by making a stickless glove save.

Stuart Skinner only faced six shots in the opening frame, but his best save kept it 1-1 entering the intermission when he flashed the right pad to deny Tyler Seguin on a one-timer in the left circle that was set up from across the slot by Jason Robertson, who oddly was the forward on Dallas' bench

Connor speaks after scoring in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Dallas


The Stars had their moments in the middle frame where they could've cracked the armor of the Oilers, but the Blue & Orange didn't break to keep it scoreless through 40 minutes of Game 2 on Saturday.

Johnston came the closest for the Stars in the opening two minutes of the second when the young forward had his first shot stopped off the feed behind the net from Benn before his follow-up backhand hit the underside of the crossbar and went out the other way, allowing the Oilers to escape danger.

Dallas looked to have had the slight edge on the Oilers in the middle frame and had another great opportunity past the six-minute mark on an in-tight dangle from Evgenii Dadonov that was dashed by the outstretched left pad of Skinner before Bouchard cleared the puck from danger.

With another successful penalty kill during the middle stanza, Edmonton's PK unit killed off its 20th straight penalty to improve to 38-for-41 in the 2024 Playoffs, but Dallas was beginning to show signs of a spark over the period where they outshot the Oilers 11-8.

"We had a lot of shots and all that, but in the second, we took a penalty, gave them some momentum, and they kept coming at us a little bit," Ekholm said. "But I think we had our looks in the second, too."

Connor addresses the media post-game on Saturday in Dallas


Game 2 was balancing on a knife's edge entering the third period before the Stars found that all-important next goal on a deflection delivered off the stick of Mason Marchment 3:41 into the frame.

The Oilers couldn't escape their zone with their third line hemmed in on a long shift as the puck made it up to the blueline for defenceman Ryan Suter, who sifted a puck towards Edmonton's crease that fluttered through the air before Marchment caught a piece of it to sneak it under Skinner's right arm for a 2-1 Dallas lead at 16:19 of the period.

"The margins are small. It's a tight game," McDavid said. "A little tip in front and that's the difference."

Edmonton didn't pick up their second shot of the period until Ekholm earned two good chances over 15 seconds as time swindled into the final three-and-a-half minutes.

The Swede forced Oettinger into a glove save from an open look at the top of the circle before he was back on the attack soon after, cutting through the slot on the rush and placing his effort far side that was destined for the top corner if it weren't for the knob of the netminder's stick getting in the way.

"They're a good shot-blocking team, but I think we had our looks," Ekholm said. "I hit the knob with four minutes to go. It's a 2-2 game if we score, so I'm not saying there was just one chance, but we had our looks. It's just a matter of bearing down and we got to keep getting in there, keep getting our nose in the paint and we're going to get a tip at some point.

Paige & Jack discuss Saturday's Game 2 defeat to the Stars in Dallas

Skinner vacated Edmonton's net with just over two minutes left on the clock, but the Stars capitalized on it quickly by shutting down Kane's dump-in and sending it up to Lindell, who took a shot from the neutral zone that found the yawning cage for a 3-1 Stars' advantage.

"It's always difficult at the end of the game when to pull the goalie, and you want to get your best players out there and have it set up," Knoblauch said.

"But also, you don't want too much time to pass by without getting them out there, and we probably would have liked to wait just a little bit longer. We got possession of the puck on the entry, but right away, they changed [skaters] and I think we probably would've liked to wait just a little bit longer."

Despite getting a late power play and a six-on-four opportunity, Kane was called for a slashing penalty to nullify the man advantage before time ultimately ran down on Dallas' victory in Game 2 on Saturday, evening the Western Conference Final at one game apiece as it shifts to Edmonton for Game 3 on Monday.

"I think we're playing well enough to win, but we still have another level to our game and we're heading home now," Ekholm said. "We got the split, so we're going to go home and regroup and come out hot for Game 3."

"We're back in our barn. It's going to be exciting. I'm sure the fans are excited, so we'll try to use the energy from the fans to keep building our game.

"We got our split, so we feel good about that, but now it's time to raise our level when we get home and dictate the game."

Kris speaks after Edmonton's 3-1 loss in Game 2 on Saturday