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Talking points from Game 2 versus the Stars

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Photo credit:Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
25 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers are leaving the Lone Star State with a split after falling 3-1 last night to the Dallas Stars. While the loss was disappointing, the goal was to come home with at least one win, so there’s no need to be upset.
Jamie Benn beat Stuart Skinner on the Stars’ first shot of the game, but Connor Brown responded 42 seconds later to tie the game. Much like Game 1, it was a tight contest between the two Western Conference finalists, but the deadlock was broken when Mason Marchment’s tip passed by Skinner. Esa Lindell added an empty-netter to secure the win and tie the series for the Stars.
The two teams now travel to Edmonton, with the Oilers likely the happier of the groups. Game 3 goes down tomorrow night at Rogers Place. But before getting there, let’s look back at the talking points from Game 2.

Depth But No Stars

Connor Brown tied the game for the Oilers 40 seconds after Jamie Benn opened the scoring for Dallas. Unfortunately for Edmonton, that was their lone goal of the game. Three times this season, a fourth-liner (Dylan Holloway in Game 2 vs. LA, Mattias Janmark in Game 5 vs. Vancouver, and now Brown last night) has scored, but the Oilers have lost each time. We beg for depth scoring, which they finally get, and then the stars can’t find the net on the same night. Pretty ironic, really.

Stuart Skinner

Stuart Skinner and Stars’ goaltender Jake Oettinger both played great last night. Oettinger came out the better of the two but Skinner’s play wasn’t far of the standard set by the Dallas goaltender. Skinner, despite the loss, finished with a 0.917 save percentage getting beaten by the Mason Marchment game winner in the third period. Oettinger proved why he’s known as one of the elite goaltenders in the league, and the Oilers can’t be wasting top performances from Skinner.

The Goalie Pull

We’ve seen the Oilers score late with an extra attacker many times, with the most recent coming against Vancouver in Game 3. Knowing that made last night goalie pull feel strange. The Oilers didn’t have full possession of the puck before Skinner got the call from the bench, gifting Esa Lindell a wide open goal to shoot at. Additionally, the top line wasn’t on the ice and there was still two minutes on the clock. It felt panicked, organized and unnecessary. The Oilers didn’t lose the game because of that goal but it sure killed their chances.

Special Teams

The Oilers were limited to only two power-play opportunities in Game 2, with the second coming once it was 3-1 to Dallas. With only three power plays so far in the series, the Oilers’ superstars haven’t had the chance to stretch their wings with the man advantage. Will that change in Game 3? Kris Knoblauch is hoping so, especially after his comments last night, saying, “We would like the same standard.” That said, the Stars are one of the least penalized teams in the NHL, so the Oilers need to either find a way to draw more penalties or have success at five-on-five. As for the penalty kill, it remained perfect in the series, killing off the Stars’ lone power play. That group has been amazing, with Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown leading the charge.

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