The Dallas Stars rolled out a solid performance on the second night of a back-to-back Friday in Edmonton, but Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson stole the show and the game. Nilsson stopped 42 shots as the Oilers defeated the Stars, 2-1, in overtime at Rexall Place.
“He made some great saves,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Right off the start, we probably could have had three or four [goals].”
Nilsson stopped Stars center Tyler Seguin from close range 48 seconds into the game and Jamie Benn on a breakaway at the 3:26 mark of the first. And he continued to make big saves on quality chances by the Stars throughout the game. The Stars, who played Thursday night in Vancouver, outshot Edmonton 43-24.
“[Nilsson] stood on his head but at the same time we have to execute on our chances,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “I thought it was a pretty good effort with back-to-back games and getting in late. We didn’t sit back at all; we took it to them. It’s going to happen. We’ll just get back on the saddle the next game.”
Mattias Janmark scored Dallas’ only goal, putting home a rebound late in the second period. Antti Niemi got the start for the Stars and came up with some big saves as well, and ended up with 22 saves on 24 shots. The Stars ended their four-game road trip with a 2-0-2 record and are 20-5-2 on the season.
“We can’t be disappointed with six out of eight points on a road trip,” Ruff said. “If you look at that in the points system, we basically won three out of four. We got the points you need in a four-game block. These last two games we’ve really played well. We’re missing too many really good opportunities to put teams away.”
Jordan Eberle scored the game-winner in overtime for the Oilers. After a couple of Stars turnovers in their own end, Eberle beat Niemi with a wide-open shot from the slot to give the Oilers their second straight win and third in the past four games. Nilsson has stopped 80 of 83 shots in Edmonton’s past two games, victories over Boston and Dallas.
“[The past two wins] have been huge,” Nilsson said. “It’s been a big confidence boost for us to win these two very tight games, one in overtime and one in a shootout. It’s been huge for us.”
Nilsson turned away 14 shots in the first, including quality chances by Seguin and Jamie Benn early in the period and one by Jason Spezza late in the first. Taylor Hall scored the only goal of the period, knocking a puck past Patrik Nemeth and scoring from close range at the 14:49 mark.
The Stars tied the game with 1:37 left in the second period. After Fiddler won an offensive zone faceoff, Jamie Oleksiak put a shot on net and Janmark scored off the rebound to make it a 1-1 game.
The Stars were all over the Oilers in the third period, but Nilsson continued to put up a wall in goal, making big saves on Janmark, Fiddler and Ales Hemsky.
“That was a hell of a performance,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “He stole the game and gave us a chance to win.”
*Friday’s game was only the second time this season the Stars have been held to fewer than two goals.
*The Stars outshot the Oilers 43-24 and had a 77-47 advantage in attempted shots.
*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with seven shots on goal and 11 attempted shots.
*Mattias Janmark has scored two goals in the past three games and now has five goals on the season.
*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars are 0-11 on the power play over the past four games.
*The Stars are 9-9 on the penalty kill over the past four games.
*The Stars won 24 of 54 faceoffs (44 percent).
*Jason Spezza won 7 of 11 faceoffs (64 percent). Jamie Benn won 5 of 10 (50 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 4 of 9 (44 percent). Tyler Seguin won 4 of 10 (40 percent). Cody Eakin won 4 of 12 (33 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 25:57 of ice time.
*Travis Moen was in the lineup Friday for the Stars, his first game since Oct. 15. With Moen coming in, Patrick Eaves was scratched.
The Stars return home to play Carolina on Tuesday. The Stars play five of their next games and eight of their next 12 at American Airlines Center.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Patrick Sharp
Travis Moen – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: Jason Demers (upper body)
Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Jyrki Jokipakka
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.