The Edmonton Oilers flipped the script on Wednesday night, and may have also flipped the series.

Just as Dallas had done in rallying back from a slow start and 2-0 deficit in Game 3, the Oilers overcame a horrible opening seven minutes and found a way to win Game 4 by a score of 5-2 at Rogers Place. That ties the series at 2-2 heading back to Game 5 in Dallas on Friday and creates a whole new vibe in the Western Conference Final.

“It’s two good teams playing, and no one is going to lay down,” said Stars forward Joe Pavelski. “You have teams that can make plays both ways, and this shows just how fine of a line it is. It comes down to a few plays throughout the night.”

Joe Pavelski speaks to the media after Game 4

The Stars made those plays in Game 3 and the Oilers definitely made them in Game 4. The Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Wyatt Johnston and Esa Lindell, and seemed to have corrected the poor starts from their previous two games. The Johnston goal was a fantastic individual effort as he picked a corner for his ninth goal of the playoffs just 58 seconds into the game. Dallas then expanded that lead four minutes later, as a Lindell shot bounced off Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse and past goalie Stuart Skinner.

It was the perfect start for the Stars and had folks back home believing they could win both road games and take a 3-1 lead in the series, just as they had done against Colorado.

“Nobody wants to go down 3-1,” Benn said in reference to the Oilers’ strong comeback.

Jamie Benn speaks to the media after Game 4

He was right. Edmonton pushed back, and in doing so created all sorts of mistakes by the Stars.  Just five minutes after the Lindell goal, Nurse and Corey Perry drove the next and created chaos that caused Ryan Suter to fall on Jake Oettinger. Ryan McLeod came in to lift in the rebound for his first goal of the playoffs, and the Oilers had life. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins won a wall battle and that sprang Connor McDavid, who put a hard shot on net in transition. The puck bounced hard off of Oettinger’s pads and right to Evan Bouchard for a rebound and his sixth goal of the playoffs.

The score stayed that way for 18 minutes, but it was clear the Oilers were controlling play. They finished with a 29-22 advantage in shots on goal and a 59-50 edge in shot attempts. While that wasn’t dominating, it was noticeable.

“We got up 2-0, got the start we wanted, but I don’t think we had enough guys playing at a high level,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “The rest of the game, they were the better team. That’s the bottom line.”

Pete DeBoer talks to media after Game 4 loss in EDM

Suter and Thomas Harley each had difficult games on defense, while Mason Marchment was a minus-3, and seven other players were each minus-2.

“I really disliked the first two goals,” DeBoer said.

Dallas earned a power play late in the second period, and this really was a golden opportunity to seize momentum back. Instead, the Oilers red hot penalty kill frustrated the Stars. Harley got caught in a shorthanded two-on-one, and former Stars winger Mattias Janmark scored the game-winning goal.

“That was kind of a kick in the butt,” Benn said. “Their PK is good, they put a lot of pressure on you and we’re going to have to find a way to be a little creative here and try to break them down.”

Dallas still had power play time and was only down 3-2, but it quickly gave up another goal – this time to Leon Draisaitl, and that was pretty much game. The Oilers added an empty-netter for the final, and packed up a ton of momentum to take back to Texas.

Recap: Stars at Oilers 5.29.24

“We came here and got a split, we got home ice back,” said DeBoer. “It’s two out of three to go to the Stanley Cup Final. This isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s not supposed to be pretty. You’ve got the four best teams in the league left and that’s what it’s going to look like. You’ve got to find a way to come out on top, even if it takes seven games and overtime.”

The Stars lost Chris Tanev in the second period when he was hit in the skate by a shot. DeBoer said he has his “fingers crossed” that Tanev can return for Game 5, but he also understands the team might have to tap into its depth – which includes Nils Lundkvist, Derrick Pouliot and Lian Bichsel.

Tanev still is a candidate to return, as he has battled through pain in the playoffs.

“He’s one of the ultimate warriors in this league,” Benn said. “It’s unbelievable to have him on our side now. I’ve played against him for a long time. He’s a true professional. He plays the game hard.”

But if he can’t go, the Stars will have to explore their depth.

“Next man up,” DeBoer said. “It’s that time of year.”

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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