One of the Stars’ strategies all season has been to stay out of the penalty box.

It seems to be working against the Edmonton Oilers.

Edmonton has enjoyed the man advantage just three times in the first two games of the Western Conference Final, and coach Kris Knoblauch was asked about that after Game 2 on Saturday.

"We've got a really good power play, we win a lot of games on the power play, and it's unfortunate for us that it's tougher to draw penalties in the playoffs than it is in the regular season,” Knoblauch said. “I think the standard is the same for both teams. I'm not saying it's unfair for us, but we would like the same standard."

The Stars are fully aware of that, and that’s something they talk about a lot. Dallas in the playoffs has been shorthanded an average of 1.93 times per game – that’s tops in the postseason. That’s tough for the Oilers, who lead the NHL with 15 power play goals in 14 playoff games and are second in conversion rate at 34.9 percent.

“We’ve done it all year and all playoffs,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer of being able to walk the line of good defensive play while not getting penalized. “I don’t understand that narrative. We’re playing the same way we have all year, and the refs are calling it the same way they’ve called it all year on us.”

DeBoer discusses style of play, changes in team.

The Stars are an interesting team, as they are among the least aggressive in collecting NHL “hits.” Dallas was 31st in the regular season at 17.6 per game. They are 14th out of 16 teams in the playoffs with 26.3. That said, players like Esa Lindell, Thomas Harley and Miro Heiskanen do a good job of defending without pushing the physicality.

“They check with their feet,” said Oilers forward Connor Brown. “But I think we can do a better job of holding onto the puck and creating some momentum so they’ve got to chase us around a little bit. That’s usually when you get your calls.”

While Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm said, “It’s physical. It’s playoff hockey. We need to work harder to draw more penalties.”

DeBoer said he feels the Stars have worked hard to play a tight game for the entire season.

“I think it’s part personnel and part mindset on how we want to play every night,” DeBoer said. “We want to check with our legs and stick on the puck. We don’t get into a lot of scrums after the whistle. But at the same time, we play a hard, physical, heavy brand of hockey and we make no apologies for that.”

Key Numbers

Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist on Saturday and now has 73 career playoff points (27 goals, 46 assists). That moves him past Sergei Zubov for fifth all-time on the franchise career playoff scoring list.

Dallas is 5-1 on the road in the playoffs and leads the NHL with a 1.50 road GAA.

Connor McDavid is fifth on the Oilers in shots on goal in the playoffs with 37. He was second in the regular season.

He Said It

“All year, someone different stepped up. That’s the benefit of our team – the depth guys. Pete trusts everybody. We were all working for it. It works well because you have a system that everyone knows and everyone is on top of. We all try to play the same way. That helps.”

- Stars defenseman Ryan Suter on the fact the game-winning goal in Game 2 was scored with himself, Mason Marchment, Sam Steel, Ty Dellandrea and Alexander Petrovic on the ice

Ryan Suter speaks to the media after Game 2

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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