The Stars lost the battle of special teams on Friday, but it seemed there was even more than that at play in a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Yes, Edmonton burst through and scored its first two power play goals of the series – and Dallas continued to go O-fer on the man advantage. But for the second consecutive game, the Oilers appeared to control play and kept the Stars on their heels. While Dallas is supposed to have depth throughout the lineup, Edmonton again looked deeper. While the Stars had six days before this series began and the Oilers had to play Game 7 against Vancouver and then travel in from Canada in three days, the Stars appeared to be the team that was sluggish.

“You have to give them credit,” said Stars coach Pete DeBoer of the Oilers. “If you’re going to draw up a road game, that’s pretty much what you want to do. You want to come out, get two power play goals early in the game, get the lead and then defend well all night. It’s tough to crack through when you’re down two or three goals.”

Pete DeBoer speaks to the media after Game 5

To be fair, the Stars created a ton of scoring chances in the first 10 minutes, just not that many shots on goal. And yes, you could argue the first call that put the Oilers on the power play, but Edmonton cashed in both man advantage opportunities in record time to take control of the game.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 19 seconds into the first power play and 16 seconds into the second. Combine those two tallies with a lethargic Stars response, and the game seemed over five minutes into the second period.

“He gets asked to do so much on this team, whether it’s on the kill, big draws on the kill, he’s always got a response on the power play,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said of Nugent-Hopkins. “He’s asked to do everything, and he just always delivers. Tonight was big. He’s awesome.”

Dallas had power plays late in the first period and also late in the second. They looked mostly frustrated on both opportunities. Edmonton has killed all 11 Stars power plays in this series and is at 93.5 percent for the playoffs, so that is a real concern as Dallas tries to keep its season alive.

Stars forward Tyler Seguin was asked if the game was mostly about special teams, and he said no.

“Special teams are important, but it was a bit of a weird game,” Seguin said. “It felt like the first period was almost two teams feeling each other out. The reality of it probably was its two teams with a lot of travel in the last couple days. The game was there for us, and we are all on the same schedule, and we didn’t get the job done.”

Tyler Seguin speaks to the media after Game 5

Stars forward Matt Duchene said the team felt “disjointed.”

“They were breaking out well, but we weren’t getting pucks back enough,” Duchene said. “When we dumped it in, we didn’t get it back, and when we carried it in, we didn’t set up well enough in the offensive zone. Give them credit, they’re doing a good job, they blocked a lot of shots tonight, but we’ve got to be better.”

Matt Duchene speaks to the media after Game 5

The Stars pushed back hard in the third period, and the final stats actually were pretty even. Edmonton finished with a 26-20 advantage in shots on goal and a 66-59 edge in shot attempts, but Dallas actually had six more scoring chances. The Stars won the faceoff battle, 26-25, and blocked shots were at 25-25. Still, there was a feeling Edmonton was in control. That was a carryover from Game 4, where the Stars took a 2-0 lead early and then surrendered five unanswered goals.

DeBoer said after Game 4 that the better team has been able to win each game in this series. That logic followed in Game 5.

“There’s only four teams left, and these are the best teams in the league,” DeBoer said. “It’s not going to look pretty every night. You’re not going to come out firing shots and making plays. We’re doing the same to them. They got a couple of power play goals and didn’t have a ton of great looks, either. It’s muddy, tight hockey. There’s not a lot of room there. You get to the end like this with two really good teams that are really deep, and there is not a lot of room there. It’s not going to feel great a lot of the time for either team.”

Yes, it is harder to score in the playoffs, but the Stars are having some serious struggles right now. Dallas ranked third in the regular season at 3.59 goals per game. It is at 2.83 in the playoffs. In the past three games against the Oilers, the Stars have had periods with shots on goal of 3, 3, 4, 6 and 6. Joe Pavelski, who averaged 0.82 points per game in the regular season, is at 0.22 in the playoffs. Duchene has gone from 0.81 to 0.33. Roope Hintz from 0.81 to 0.57.

“You’ve got to give them credit – they did a good job,” said Wyatt Johnston, who scored his 10th goal of the playoffs. “We didn’t do nearly good enough of a job getting to the net and getting first opportunities, but then also getting those rebounds back and generating more.”

Wyatt Johnston speaks to the media after Game 5

The Stars are tied with Florida for the best road team in the playoffs and they will need that going into Game 6 Sunday in Edmonton. Jake Oettinger has a 1.71 road GAA and .947 road save percentage, so there is plenty of hope that they can bring the series back to Dallas for a Game 7 Tuesday. That could bode incredibly well as head coach Pete DeBoer is 8-0 all-time in Game 7’s.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what has happened up to this point,” said Johnston. “They’ve done a good job these last two games and I don’t think we’ve done our best. But all that matters is that we’re ready to go next game.”

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 DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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