The Stars have been here before.

When they got down 0-2 against Vegas.

When Colorado won Game 5 in Dallas to force Game 6 back in Denver.

When the Oilers took Game 1 in this series.

The playoffs are a back-and-forth of adjustments and challenges, and it truly doesn’t end until one team has secured four wins.

The Stars were hopeful they were on a good path when they played a very good Game 3 on the road and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They then quickly took a 2-0 lead in Game 4, and the hope was they would secure a 3-1 series lead and go back to Texas for a potential closeout Game 5 on Friday.

But the Oilers had different plans. Head coach Kris Knoblauch made three lineup changes, and they paid off as Edmonton rallied for a 5-2 win that seemed to sweep all of the momentum to the Oilers side of the table.

“They didn’t want to go down 3-1,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “They’re not just going to hand it to us. They’re a good team, we feel we’re a good team. That’s why we play for 60 minutes.”

Jamie Benn speaks to the media after Game 4

“They’re a great team,” defenseman Thomas Harley said on Thursday. “They’re going to make pushes, they’re going to make game adjustments, they’re going to take over shifts.”

Asked how to stop that, Harley said the Stars try to rely on the veteran experience and team calm.

“You just have to stop it at one,” Harley said. “You can’t let them get rolling. We’re a veteran group. Most of these guys have been around the block a time or two. This is my second time in the playoffs, so I have some experience to fall back on. But it’s a tough thing to do to win games. The other team is trying too, so you just have to be one percent better than them.”

Harley on defensive adjustments, series tied 2-2.

DeBoer is pushing to have that happen. He has tweaked the Stars’ lineup by changing in forwards such as Ty Dellandrea, Craig Smith and Radek Faksa. Edmonton swapped in three players Wednesday and received great results.

Oilers forward Connor Brown said first year head coach Kris Knoblauch deserves credit for that.

“I think he is doing a good job,” Brown said. “It’s not easy. His first time in the playoffs, and he’s making gutsy calls. 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.”

Now, each side has a chance to take a 3-2 lead in the series. That’s pretty good motivation right there. And while mindset is a huge part of outcome, it all comes down to execution.

“They were better for longer periods of times,” DeBoer said of the Oilers’ Game 4 win. “I think a lot of times in the NHL you get what you deserve. There’s not many nights that you win and you don’t deserve to win. The better team won last night. I think the games that we have won, we have been the better team, so we’ve got to up our game here at home in Game 5.”

DeBoer on defensive options, adjustments during games

Key Numbers

After getting two assists Wednesday, Stars captain Jamie Benn moved into fourth all time in franchise history with 77 playoff points (27 goals, 50 assists). Benn sits two points behind Neal Broten for third place.

The Stars are 4-5 at American Airlines Center in the playoffs this year, getting outscored 25-26. However, they are coming off a 3-1 win in Game 2 against Edmonton.

Dallas ranks second in the playoffs in winning games when outshot by the opponent at 5. The Rangers have 7. Edmonton ranks second in wins when outshooting its opponent at 9. Florida leads with 10.

He Said It

“When you do get pulled out of the lineup, it’s a tough pill to swallow, 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.”

- Oilers forward Corey Perry, who played his first game in the series and had an assist on Wednesday

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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