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McDavid scores in 2OT to lift Oilers over Stars in West Final opener

Connor McDavid tipped Evan Bouchard’s shot from the boards past Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger 32 seconds into the second overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final..

The play started behind the Stars net when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shovelled the puck during a scrum with a pair of Stars players to Bouchard, who got it to McDavid, who was waiting in front of Oettinger to deflect it quickly past him blocker side.

“I thought we did a great job, truthfully, all game,” McDavid told media following the win.

“I thought we played well all game and generated chances, defended well. I thought we did a lot of good things.”

Stars captain Jamie Benn said after the game his team “got a lot of looks,” especially on the power play, on which they generated eight shots on five attempts but didn’t score.

“(The Oilers) work hard,” he said.

“They’ve got some great (penalty) killers and their goalie made some great saves. We’re just going to have to be better.”

Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring 1:36 into the second period at Dallas’s American Air7lines Center, depositing his ninth goal of the playoffs past Oettinger when he picked up the rebound off defenceman Brett Kulak’s shot.

A minute and a half later, Zach Hyman beat Stars defenceman Esa Lindell to an open puck, after a pass from McDavid went off a stick in front of goalie Jake Oettinger to the waiting Oilers winger, who tucked it behind the Stars netminder for his 12th goal of the post-season to put the Oilers up 2-0.

Tyler Seguin scored the Stars’ first goal at 6:11 of the middle frame after jostling with Kulak in the crease, finally getting his stick on the puck to put it past Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner.

The scoring play began when Kulak misfired on a breakout pass, with Stars captain Jamie Benn scooping up the puck and skating in for a shot on Skinner before Seguin outwrestled the defenceman for the goal.

Seguin tied it with 3:23 left in the third period, with Jason Robertson’s shot deflecting off Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse’s skate to the wide-open Stars forward waiting on the other side of Skinner to tap it in.

Dylan Holloway had a chance to regain the lead for Edmonton just 30 seconds later after Stars defenceman Thomas Harley whiffed on a pass, with the Oilers winger retrieving the puck for a breakaway, but Oettinger got his pad on the attempt.

McDavid took a four-minute high-sticking penalty 17 seconds into overtime after he clipped Duchene in the mouth.

Two shots by Robertson that went off posts on the ensuing power play were two of 11 scoring chances, four of them shots, that Dallas generated with McDavid in the penalty box.

“I hated every second of it,” McDavid said of his “miserable” spell sitting in the penalty box while the Oilers’ penalty-killers kept the Stars from scoring.

“The guys did an amazing job. The penalty kill has just been amazing, and to step in there for four minutes – (the Stars have) a good power play – I can’t give those guys enough credit.”

McDavid had a chance to win the game with 5:21 left in the first overtime with an open net to the right of Oettinger, but Stars defenceman Chris Tanev reached across in time to block his shot and deflect the puck away.

Skinner stopped 31 Stars shots in the win while Oettinger turned away 35 by the Oilers.

“Teams that have success in the playoffs are good defending teams, teams that can check and play responsibly,” Knoblauch said following the game after being asked if the way the Oilers are playing now, not just relying on their scorers but also through strong defensive and special-teams play, is a blueprint for long-term success.

“There will be nights in the playoffs when we can’t score goals, but to win consistently, we’ve got to be able to defend. That’s our biggest objective …

“Like any game – I’ve said this many times before – there are mistakes, there are things that happen, just because that’s the game. You can’t play a perfect game, but we have to make sure we limit those errors, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that.

“When we have made mistakes, then we’ve got to count on our goal to make some saves, and Stu did that tonight.”

McDavid added an assist for a two-point night, joining Wayne Gretzky as the only two players in NHL history to record 20 assists through 13 or fewer playoff games multiple times after setting up the goal by Hyman, who with an assist also had a two-point effort.

With his goal, Draisaitl became the fifth player in NHL history to open a post-season with a 13-game point streak.

Game 2 of the third-round series is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. MT in Dallas before the best-of-seven set shifts to Edmonton’s Rogers Place for Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Wednesday. 

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