The Stars tie it up! Dallas tops Edmonton 3-1 to tie Western Conference Finals

Goals from Jamie Benn, Mason Marchment and Esa Lindell — and 28 saves from Jake Oettinger — helped propel the Stars past the Oilers in Game 2.

DALLAS — As has become customary for this team in the playoffs, the Dallas Stars had a hole to dig themselves out of in Game 2 of the NHL’s 2024 Western Conference Final on Saturday night. 

It’s a position the team is unfortunately quite used to at this point. Their 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Thursday’s Game 1 was the team’s seventh straight defeat in a playoff series’ opening game — a streak dating back three seasons now. 

But, as has also been the case four out of the previous six times, the Stars rebounded admirably yet again in this contest, besting the Connor McDavid-led Oilers 3-1 and tying the series 1-1 in a game that felt every bit as intense as the five-period affair from two nights prior.

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With various pro athletes from across the board watching on — Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, NFL star Travis Kelce, former Texas Rangers ace Cole Hamels and North Texas-based golf hero Bryson DeChambeau among them — the Stars struck first in this one, with team captain Jamie Benn burying a wrister past Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner on a two-on-one breakaway just three and a half minutes into the game.

Unfortunately, any breathing room that afforded Dallas quickly dissipated just 44 seconds later as Oilers forward Connor Brown, on a breakaway of Edmonton’s own, found the mesh behind Stars netminder Jake Oettinger on a rebound to tie the game at one goal apiece. 

After a tense second period characterized by unlucky puck bounces, missed opportunities and hold-your-breath chances from the Oilers’ renowned offensive firepower, the dam finally burst for Dallas in the third period.

Just under four minutes into the final frame, forward Mason Marchment — Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs’ favorite hockey player — deflected a shot from near the blue line by defenseman Ryan Suter into the goal. 

Later, as Edmonton looked to tie the contest by pulling Skinner, Stars defender Esa Lindell scored an empty-netter with just over two minutes left to play.

The Oilers kept up the good fight right up until the end, though. Immediately after Lindell’s goal, Benn was called for a two-minute minor on a holding call, giving the Oilers’ offense a two-man advantage as they kept their goalie pulled and looked to claw their way back into the game late.

Alas, an untimely slashing penalty on Oilers forward Evander Kane took some wind out of the sail in Edmonton’s final push, and Oettinger, who registered 28 saves on the night, held firm to earn the Stars their first win of the series.

The series now tied, the teams will head to Edmonton for Game 3 at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 27.

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