Instant Reaction: Oilers blow early lead, drop Game 3 at home to Stars

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
24 days ago
What a frustrating loss. The Oilers blew a 2-0 lead and lost an entirely winnable game by a score of 5-3. After winning Game 1, the Stars now have a 2-1 series lead and have regained home-ice advantage. 
For the 12th time in 15 postseason games, the Edmonton Oilers scored the opening goal. Connor McDavid’s shot redirected off Zach Hyman who was crashing the net. It was such a classic Hyman goal, and it was his 12th of the postseason.
The Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead for the second time this series as Mattias Ekholm activated from the blue line, circled around the net, and found Connor McDavid who won a puck battle and tucked it for his second point of the night.
Like in Game 1, the Oilers eventually blew the 2-0 lead though, as the Stars dominated the second period. The Oilers just failed to clear the zone and the Stars regained puck possession and cycled it for a little bit, before Jason Robertson had an open shot in the faceoff dot, beating Stuart Skinner to cut Edmonton’s lead in half.
It was a near identical play for the second goal. The Oilers almost cleared the zone, the Stars intercepted, and a shot created some chaos in front of the net. Once again, Robertson buried it to tie the game.
Shortly after, the Stars took the lead as the Oilers blew some defensive zone coverages, leading to a wide-open Wyatt Johnston on the side of the doorstep. Not great, and Skinner had no chance on this one.
Optimism returned before the end of the third period though, as Connor Brown funnelled the puck toward the net, and the returning Adam Henrique deflected the puck above Jake Oettinger’s shoulder to tie the game.
But with just over eight minutes left, Robertson scored the game-winning goal from a tough angle, beating Skinner between his pad and the post for his first career playoff hat trick. Following an empty-net goal, the Oilers fell 5-3. 

Things worth mentioning…

Adam Henrique should’ve been in the lineup a lot sooner. The Oilers paid a premium to get him (a first), yet he seemed healthy and missed at least a game. He had a solid game and was noticeable throughout it.
The top line tried, as between Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, they had a combined 14 shots, nearly half of Edmonton’s 30 shots. Hyman had a seven while McDavid had six.
On paper, it was a rough game for Stuart Skinner, but he was a lot better than his .810 save percentage (17 goals on 21 shots) indicated. He’d love to have the fourth goal against back, but he made some huge stops. 
Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci were united in the third period, guess which defence pair was on the ice for the game-winning goal? The series certainly isn’t over, but no matter what, the Oilers will need to upgrade that defence pairing during the off-season.
Great first period, awful second period is the story of the first three games in this series for the Edmonton Oilers. On Saturday, Edmonton outshot Dallas 16-4, but managed to go into the first intermission tied 1-1, before Dallas took control of the game. In the first frame of this one, Edmonton outshot Dallas 10-3, but sat back and allowed the Stars to get back into the game in the second. They turned it up in the third, but two of the three shots on net were in Edmonton’s net. They just have to stay focused.
Up next: Game 4 will come our way on Wednesday at 6:30 PM MT, as the Oilers will host the Stars for what is hopefully the second last time in this series. It goes without saying that this is a must-win game. That said, this series is far from over. 

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