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Oilers and Stars even at 2-2 after wild swings of momentum and big comebacks

There have been wild swings of momentum in the Western Conference Final, and something that has happened only one other time this late in the NHL playoffs.

After Edmonton and Dallas both came back from multiple-goal deficits to win while splitting the past two games, this is now a best-of-three for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.

“You look back at this series … there’s four games that Dallas thought they could have won, and we feel there’s four games that we could have won,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “It’s been a good series. I like where we’re going. I like stretches of how we’ve been playing, and it’s just important that we are able to do it for longer stretches.”

Game 5 is Friday night in Dallas.

With a chance to put a stranglehold on the series, Dallas scored twice in the first 5 1/2 minutes on the road in Game 4. Edmonton got even before the first period ended Wednesday night, then scored two more goals 51 seconds apart in the second period on way to a 5-2 win.

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“This isn’t supposed to be easy, and it’s not supposed to be pretty,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers NHL playoffs: Cutting through the tension'

Edmonton Oilers NHL playoffs: Cutting through the tension

Well, that scenario looked a lot better for the Stars after winning Game 3. Rogers Place was in a frenzy with Edmonton back home and ahead 2-0 in only 7 1/2 minutes, but Dallas scored three goals in a 3:33 span of the second period and went on to win after its fastest trio of goals in a playoff game.

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“They’re going to grab momentum at times in this series. It’s about what we do to go grab it back,” Oilers forward Connor Brown said after assisting on the tiebreaking short-handed goal in Game 4, less than a minute before Leon Draisaitl scored. “We had guys jumping over the boards trying to get the momentum back. Not trying to make a flashy play or anything, just simple, hard, win your battles.”

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Click to play video: '‘Jersey Ride for Ben’ celebrates Ben Stelter as Edmonton cheers on the Oilers'

‘Jersey Ride for Ben’ celebrates Ben Stelter as Edmonton cheers on the Oilers

The only other time in the round before the Stanley Cup Final there were back-to-back games with the winner overcoming multiple-goal deficits was in 1992. That Campbell Conference final also involved Edmonton, which led 2-0 in the first period of Games 2 and 3 before Chicago won both those games on way to a four-game series sweep.

Edmonton led 2-0 in the opener of this series, but needed captain Connor McDavid’s goal 32 seconds into the second overtime to win 3-2. Dallas then went ahead early in Game 2, but captain Jamie Benn’s goal hadn’t even been announced to the home crowd before Brown tied the game 44 seconds later — though the Stars won 3-1.

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Meet Mama Stanley, the passionate Edmonton Oilers fan

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in this group. … Reset here, learn from it. And we’ve got a great opportunity in front of us, a best-of-3 three on home ice,” Benn said after Game 4.

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“Two good teams playing and no one’s going to lay down,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said. “It’s the time of the year, and you’ve got teams that you know can make plays both ways. And it just shows just how fine of a line it is. It comes own to a few plays throughout the night, and can tip games at times.”

Florida and the New York Rangers have had some wild swings as well in the East final, which was tied 2-2 heading to Thursday’s Game 5 after three games in a row went to overtime.

After the Rangers quickly trailed 1-0 in Game 3, they went ahead with back-to-back goals 35 seconds apart. They made it 4-2 with two goals in less than three minutes in the second period, but needed overtime to win after Florida’s two third-period goals in a span of 1:54.

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Edmonton has killed off 23 consecutive penalties in its past eight playoff games, including all 10 against the Stars.

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The only special-teams goal in this series is Mattias Janmark’s short-hander on a 2-on-1 rush that put the Oilers up 3-2 in Game 4.


Stars defenseman Chris Tanev, their trade-deadline acquisition, left in the second period Wednesday night after Evander Kane’s shot ricocheted off his lower right leg.

Tanev was in obvious pain when getting to the bench, then had to work through his teammates to get to the tunnel. He never returned to the game, and his status for Game 5 was uncertain.

“Next man up. It’s that time of year, someone’s got to step in and do it if he can’t,” DeBoer said.

Jani Hakanpää hasn’t played for the Stars since March 16 because of a lower-body injury. The defenseman was on the trip to Edmonton, but it was unclear if he was ready to return.

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press

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