Edmonton Oilers seeing Stars after Dallas punches back in Game 2

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It took until the third period Saturday, but the counter punch everyone expected from the Dallas Stars after a costly home ice loss in Game 1 landed cleanly.

Stuart Skinner never saw it coming.

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After being stuffed on a handful of glorious scoring opportunities earlier in the evening, the Stars scored the game-winner on a seeing-eye point shot four minutes into the third period to post a life-saving 3-1 (empty netter) victory at American Airlines Center.

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This was the first breaking point in the series (if the Oilers go up 2-0 after two games on the road, it’s a virtual death sentence) and the Stars refused to break.

Edmonton put up the good fight. In fact, the way they owned the first period Saturday it looked like the Oilers were going to put the Western Conference Final in a stranglehold before the midway mark of Game 2.

But the Stars were everything you’d expect of a 113-point team that absolutely had to win this game. They pushed through the first period adversity, kept their cool when nothing was going in for them in the second period and delivered in the third period with the game on the line.

Game 3 in what has now become a best-of-five goes Monday evening at Rogers Place.

ANSWER MAN

If the Stars were going to run away in this game it was going to happen early, when Jamie Benn scored on their first shot of the game at 3:39. That ignited the crowd, and the Dallas bench, and set the stage for the kind of start the hosts were looking for.

Just 44 seconds later the Oilers’ fourth line shut the whole place up. Connor Brown’s first of the playoffs turned momentum back in Edmonton’s favour.

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For all of the grief and consternation about Brown’s offence contributions in the first half of the season (there were none), he’s been good in the playoffs with his PK work and the dimension he’s adding to what has become a good fourth line.

STORM WARNING

With Dallas knowing full well that losing both games at home is all but fatal, most people expected the Oilers would have to weather an early storm in Game 2. Instead, it was Edmonton dishing out the thunder and lightning. They outshot Dallas 16-5 in a first period that somehow ended 1-1.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

The Stars felt like they could have potted at least two or three goals in the second period, and probably should have, but the combination of Stuart Skinner and Edmonton’s tenacity around its own net robbed Dallas of a few sure goals.

But the Stars were taking control of the contest and limited Edmonton to 13 shots between the first intermission the empty-net goal that made it 3-1.

LATE HITS 

The Stars were once again without their second leading scorer (30) from the regular season as Roope Hintz, remained out of the lineup … Adam Henrique took the pre-game warm-up but didn’t make it into the lineup.

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