Oilers-Stars Game 4 takeaways, early look at the Game 5 matchup

The Edmonton Oilers faced a 2-1 series deficit heading into Game 4, and after two Dallas Stars goals in the first 5:29 of the game, it looked like this could grow to 3-1.

Then the tide turned significantly.

Ryan McLeod and Evan Bouchard scored in the first goal, followed by goals from Matthias Janmark and Leon Draisaitl in the second goal, and a goal by Matthias Ekholm into an empty net. The series is now 2-2 and will return to Dallas for Game 5 on Friday (8:30 PM EST, TNT).

What stood out the most from this game? What trends will continue? And who are the key players to keep an eye on with the series now reaching best-of-3?

Oilers grade: A-

Game 4 was the perfect summation of the Oilers. They had a poor start, losing 2-0 in the first 5:29 of a must-win game. They came back strong to score five unanswered goals, controlled play by limiting Dallas to 22 shots, killed two power plays and scored a shorthanded goal. Goalkeeper Stuart Skinner looked like he was on the verge of collapse but made several key saves – including a great save from Tyler Seguin – to ensure Dallas did not score that third goal.

No team in the postseason can look as bad and as good as the Oilers, more often than not in the same 20 minutes.

Coach Kris Knoblauch also deserves his flowers as he changed his roster for Game 5. He traded forwards Corey Perry and Ryan McLeod, as well as defenseman Philip Broberg; They traded forwards Sam Carrick and Warren Voegele, as well as defenseman Vincent Desharnais. Once again, Knoblauch pressed the right buttons: McLeod scored Edmonton’s first goal to cut Dallas’ lead to 2-1 on an assist from Perry. Their line with Leon Draisaitl outscored the Stars 6-1 while on the ice at 5-on-5.

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The Oilers credit Knoblauch with saving their season. He continued those heroics in the playoffs.

Star rating: C-

A 2-0 lead at halftime wasn’t the problem. Watching the Oilers score two goals in 51 seconds — Mattiaj Janmark’s shorthanded goal and Leon Draisaitl’s 10th goal of the postseason — wasn’t the problem.

The problem was how meekly the Stars lost Game 4 in Edmonton. Dallas had One High-danger shot attempt in the third period against Stuart Skinner.

No emotion, no holding back. Now the Oilers have a new life in the series.

What we learned in Game 4

Goalies can make saves with the stick even when they do not have a stick in their hands.

Late in the first period, Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger lost his stick while attempting two saves on a power play in Edmonton. Oilers wing Zach Hyman pushed the stick with his skate back from Oettinger, and it eventually came to rest with the blade of the stick wrapped across the goal line.

Connor McDavid got the puck to Oettinger’s right, saw some daylight between the goaltender and the net and fired the puck…right off the abandoned stick and out of harm’s way for Dallas. McDavid gave the bench a look of stunned disbelief in a game that ended 2-2.

According to the List of official results of the NHLwas counted as a missed shot by McDavid rather than a save by Oettinger, which we believe is a serious underestimation of Otter’s cognitive powers.

Players to watch in Game 5

Nurse Darnell. The Edmonton defenseman was the target of local ridicule after Game 3, with some publicly questioning his future with the team based on his ineffectiveness. He was on the ice for the Stars’ first two goals, including an Esa Lendl shot that deflected off Nurse and into the net to make it 2-0.

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But he kept fighting. He helped achieve McLeod’s goal. It was a physical presence. He took 12 shots but did take a minor penalty in 19:19 of ice time. It was a decisive performance for an important player.

Jason Robertson. Was Roberts’ version over? The Stars winger went 10 playoff games without scoring before scoring a hat-trick in Game 3, thanks in part to the return of Roope Hintz. But Robertson was -2 with no points in Game 4, marking the sixth time in the postseason that he has been held without a point and the seventh that he has received a negative rating.

As the Stars continue to search for their first power-play target in the series, they will need Robertson who showed up in Game 3, with the action returning to Dallas in Game 5.

Big question for Game 5: Is Chris Tanev okay?

The Stars defender blocked Evander Kane’s shot with his right foot with 7:38 left in the second half, and did not return to the game due to a lower-body injury. Tanev was a key acquisition at the trade deadline, as he was an important part of the top four stars of the defense, averaging 23:26 of ice time per game.

He has 68 blocked shots to lead all players in the postseason. Dallas hopes to be available to fend off a few more players in Game 5. If not, it will be a huge blow to the thinnest area of ​​the Stars’ lineup, and could affect penalty kills, which is the last thing you want against the team. Oil workers.

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After the game, coach Pete DeBoer said “fingers crossed” that Tanev was OK with a fifth game.

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