The Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars hold contrasting sentiments regarding the West final being deadlocked as they head into Game 3

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Dallas Stars players celebrates after a goal

The Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers have different feelings about the Western Conference Final being tied as they head into Game 3.

Edmonton feels like it missed a big chance early in this series. The Stars bounced back strongly before heading on the road, where they’ve been excellent all season.

“If you had told us a few days ago that we could split the games here against Dallas… we would have been okay with that,” said Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch. “But now it’s a bit disappointing because we won the first game and lost the second.”

Game 3 takes place in Edmonton on Monday night, a place where the Stars won during their only regular-season visit in November, before Knoblauch took over as coach.

They’ve been outstanding on the road in the playoffs, with a record of 5-1. In the first two rounds, they won Games 3 and 4 on the road against the previous two Stanley Cup champions.

Edmonton Oilers leave the ice after the loss

Mason Marchment scored the winning goal early in the third period on Saturday night, and the Stars went on to win 3-1. It’s the seventh time in the last three postseasons that they’ve come into Game 2 after a loss — and they’ve won six of those games.

“There’s a lot of character in this team. You have young guys playing hard for us older guys, and vice versa,” said Ryan Suter, the 39-year-old defenseman with the most career regular-season games among active players without a Stanley Cup. “Everyone’s committed. We don’t get phased easily. If we’re down, we find a way to come back. If we have a bad period, we bounce back in the next one.”

Dallas got off to a good start in Game 2 when Jamie Benn, the team captain, scored just 3 minutes and 39 seconds into the first period. But the Oilers quickly tied it up 44 seconds later with Connor Brown’s first playoff goal in six years.

When the Stars took the lead again with Marchment’s goal, it was hard for the Oilers to make a comeback.

Mattias Ekholm and Connor McDavid take the puck forward

In the third period, the Oilers only managed to take five shots on goal and went almost 12 minutes without a shot after falling behind. Dallas blocked seven shots and delivered 14 hits after taking the lead.

Leon Draisaitl, who had scored points in every game of the playoffs so far, only managed to get two shots on goal. Connor McDavid, who scored the game-winning goal in the first game, only got one shot on goal. Evan Bouchard, a defenseman known for scoring, had three shots but had nine attempts blocked.

“They’re a good team and they defend well. They’ve been effective at blocking passes and shots,” McDavid said.

“They’re good at blocking shots, but we did have our chances. I mean, I hit the goalpost… if we had scored, it would have been a tie game. I’m not saying it’s just one chance. We had our opportunities,” Ekholm said. “We’re playing well enough to win, but we still have another level to reach in our game.”

The Oilers went over 11 minutes without a shot on goal until Jake Oettinger made a glove save on Ekholm with 3 minutes and 27 seconds left. Ekholm then had another long shot denied just 19 seconds later, and Oettinger made his final save of the game against Bouchard.


By Christopher Kamila

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