Special Teams, Goaltending Essential for Stars, Oilers in Captivating Game 2

Stars, Oilers, Game 1

The Dallas Stars are no stranger to being down 1-0, and on Saturday they aim to tie the series. For the Oilers, Thursday night’s win was the first in the McDavid era. They hope to take a somewhat commanding 2-0 lead.

Game 2 kicks off at 8:00 pm EST.

Game 1 for Edmonton was the perfect script. Skinner had his best game of the playoffs, their penalty killing was perfect, again, and all their top guns put a puck in the net. It’s hard to play the same game twice, but the Oilers are hoping for the same outcome regardless.

Special Teams The Big Adjustment for Stars

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The Stars didn’t play a perfect 60 minutes in Game 1. Yet, the game was right there for them, and they had a plethora of chances to win. They controlled much of the play in the first, third, and first overtime periods, which produced multiple quality chances.

The playoffs are all about waves. They had many of their own and did a good job staying afloat during the ones the Oilers had.

We know Jake Oettinger has been a star all playoffs long, and it seems probable it will remain that way. We also know that Dallas has the deepest four lines in this series and probably the deepest out of the remaining four clubs.

All those things are true, but what is also true is that the Dallas Stars went 0/5 on the powerplay on Thursday. Just one goal with the man advantage could have been the difference between a win and an eventual loss.

Do the Oilers Really Need Depth?

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The answer to the question above should be a resounding yes. However, facts are facts. They are three wins away from the Stanley Cup Final, and they really haven’t had depth yet.

McDavid, Draisaitl, Bouchard, Nugent-Hopkins, and Hyman combine for 33 goals and 101 points. The rest of the team has 16 goals and 38 points. You want your star players to be your best players, I get it. But when you get to this phase of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the ice shrinks, time and space disappear, and it becomes all about the margins.

101 points from five players works when your special teams are the best in the league, and your goaltender is on fire. That is certainly the case right now, but if that falters at all, this could really cause a problem for the Oilers.

What to Expect in Game 2

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Stars trade-deadline acquisition, Chris Tanev, was on the ice for only two goals against before Game 1, where he was on the ice for two in that game alone. Based on his history, we can expect a lockdown, smart hockey game from him tonight.

Offensively, Wyatt Johnston has been a force to be reckoned with for the Stars. The 21-year-old racked up 11 points through 11 games this spring. In his last three games, he has been pointless and looks to get back on the stat sheet with a big game on Saturday.

On the Oilers’ side of things, Stuart Skinner was terrific between the pipes. The Oilers can win any game as long as he is great. With the amount of missed opportunities the Stars had on Thursday, they are going to come out swinging tonight. Skinner is going to need a repeat performance in order to go back to Canada up 2-0.

For More Sports News:

Click here for a more in-depth analysis of every series this NHL post-season from Marc Sautter and others, plus what’s happening around the league.

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