Stars’ Depth Shines Bright in Game 2 Win

Stars celebrate goal in Game 2

On the shoulders of Jake Oettinger, the Dallas Stars survive a turbulent first period, take over the third, and even the series up Saturday with a 3-1 win.

The Oilers started the game on fire, putting 16 shots on the net in the opening frame. You might not win a game in the first period, but Oettinger certainly saved the game.

It took a while to find their rythm, but when they did, the Stars were able to neutralize the Oilers key players and grind out a win.

Mason Marchment scored the game-winning goal early in the third period, and Esa Lindell added the empty netter to seal the victory.

Total Team Effort From Stars

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Depending on how the playoffs play out, maybe we’ll do a whole article on the brilliant roster construction the Dallas Stars management has undergone. They have the perfect blend of young talent, veteran leadership, big and strong defensemen, and a star goaltender.

Ideally, the up and coming players are providing most of the Stars offense. Guys like Jason Robertson and Wyatt Johnston. While, Johnston did have two assists on Saturday, it’s been the grizzled veterans who have been carrying the offensive load in this series.

After Tyler Seguin scored both goals for Dallas on Thursday, in Game 2 it was captain Jamie Benn, and Mason Marchment’s turn to provide a spark. Jamie Benn is not the player he once was, even he would tell you that, but he still provides big goals in big moments, and it was his leadership that helped his team grind their way to a win.

Marchment is not, and never has been, much of a goal-scorer, which is what made his game-winning goal that much sweeter. After the big win Marchment stated:

There’s not many better feelings than scoring in a playoff game.

Chris Tanev had a much more disciplined game, which is what they rely on, and what they brought him in for. His stat sheet reads zeros across the board, except for one hit. If that plus/minus section isn’t a red number, the Stars will take that every day of the week.

The final piece to this beautiful roster puzzle is Jake Oettinger. While his stats in the regular season were fine, he was more inconsistent than in years past.

So far this spring he has been tremendous, and the Stars have needed every save. After stopping 15 of 16 shots in the first, he shut the door the rest of the way, stopping the next 13 shots.

Skinner No Longer the Problem in Edmonton

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At the beginning of this series, especially in Canada, the majority of the conversation revolved around the dependability of goaltender Stuart Skinner. His play leading up to the series has been concerning, to say the least, and facing a roster like the Dallas Stars was proving to be quite the challenge. Well, challenge accepted.

In Game 1 he stopped 23 of 25 stops, including multiple brilliant saves in overtime to keep his team alive. In Game 2 he stopped 20 of 22, and again, gave his team every chance to win. He has been brilliant in this series, and with the way Edmonton’s offense is going, he’s going to need to be.

So, if not Skinner, what is the problem?

If the Oilers’ top players don’t produce, they don’t win, it’s that simple. In Game 1, they had goals from Hyman, McDavid, and Draisaitl. In Game 2, those three produced only 5 shots 0 points combined.

Connor Brown scored his first of the playoffs, and the only goal for the Oilers. In a season where Brown only contributed 4 goals, that goal should have been celebrated for the next two days. Yet, it was completely overshadowed by the fact that the rest of the team couldn’t do anything.

Connor McDavid put it perfectly after the game:

The margins are small. It’s tight games. The difference is a little tip in front and that’s it.

With the margins so small, and the games so tight, not to mention both goaltenders playing so well, it really is going to come down to depth. One team has it, and the other doesn’t seem to, and that really could be the defining factor of this series.

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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