NHL: Oilers score last five goals to even series with Stars

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Turnabout is fair play. The Edmonton Oilers stole a page from the Dallas Stars’ playbook in a 5-2 home-ice victory on Wednesday that evened the Western Conference finals at two wins apiece.

After falling behind 2-0 less than 5 1/2 minutes into the game, the Oilers responded with five unanswered goals off the sticks of Ryan McLeod, Evan Bouchard, Mattias Janmark, Leon Draisaitl and Mattias Ekholm. It was an impressive bit of rebounding for a team facing a possible 3-1 series hole.

“It stems from the start of the year,” Brown said. “We were dead-last (in the Pacific Division) and we’ve faced adversity all year. It’s gotten to the point where we’re thriving on that adversity, we’re welcoming it and it’s shown here when we need a response.”

Goaltender Stuart Skinner made 20 saves and captain Connor McDavid netted three assists.

Wyatt Johnston and Esa Lindell scored for the Stars, while goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 24 shots and Jamie Benn collected two assists.

The best-of-seven series shifts to Dallas for Game 5 on Friday.

“A big win,” McDavid told Sportsnet. “We knew what was on the line. A really big win here, and we make it a best-of-three.”

With his team down by a pair, McLeod cued the comeback by pouncing on a loose puck for his first goal of the playoffs at 13:30 of the first period. Bouchard tied the score at the 16:17 mark by converting a rebound chance on the rush for his sixth of the postseason.

Building on that momentum, Janmark and Draisaitl scored 51 seconds apart to give the Oilers a 4-2 lead. While short-handed, Janmark buried a one-timer set up by Connor Brown for his second of the playoffs at 14:31 of the middle frame.

Draisaitl, who was held off the scoresheet the previous two games after posting a 13-game point streak to start the playoffs, clicked on a give-and-go with Zach Hyman right after.

Just as important was Edmonton’s masterful job clamping down in the third period, holding the Stars to eight shots on goal and snuffing a crucial power-play opportunity, before Ekholm’s late empty-net goal rounded out the scoring.

“That’s a huge step,” Oilers forward Corey Perry said. “You learn from things that happened in the past and use it to your advantage. We did that tonight. We played above them in the third period and that’s how to play these guys. You let them behind you and they’re going to kill you off the rush. In the third (period) we did the right thing.”

The Stars raced out of the blocks and took a 2-0 lead while firing the first four shots on goal. Johnston opened the scoring 58 seconds into the game with his ninth goal of the playoffs. Lindell doubled the lead at 5:29 when his point shot ricocheted off a defender and into the net for his third playoff tally.

Now, the onus is on the Stars to respond.

“I have all the confidence in the world in this group,” Benn said. “We’ve been through a lot all year. We’ll reset here, learn from it and have a great opportunity ahead of us, a best-of-three on home ice. I’m looking forward to it.”

Adding to their disappointment, Stars defenseman Chris Tanev left after blocking a shot with his foot late in the second period and did not return. Coach Pete DeBoer said “fingers crossed” Tanev will play in the next game.

–Field Level Media

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