NHL Playoff Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars | Round 3, Game 4 | 05/29/2024

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A full 60, my kingdom for a full 60.

You couldn’t have asked for a more ecstatic start to a game in your own rink while the third round is tied 1-1. 2-0 is not a big score, but it was a good start, and the fans at Rogers Place were loving it. Then, their toxic habit of not showing up for another part of a game took control again. It’s only a 2-1 series, the sky isn’t falling, depending who you ask. It’s just the way they lost that got fans riled up. Give the Dallas Stars some credit. They are a great team; every Final Four team is good. You had to expect they would push back after a terrible first period. But the Oilers, once again, played like they didn’t expect it. Learning how to maintain focus and composure for each period is something this team has to keep reminding themselves of over and over and over. One would think they’d have gotten it out of their psyche by now, but here we are. Even the more positive Oilers fans roll their eyes at this. The game was tied 3-3 going into the third period, but you still can’t help but pull your hair out over the second period. It’s astounding how a team can do so many things right for 20 minutes, and then it’s erased from their memory minutes later. If hockey games were only a period long, this team might actually win the Stanley Cup every year.

Cody Ceci and Darnell Nurse were reunited as a pair in the third period. The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Evan Bouchard and Mattias Ekholm also had a really off night defensively when you look at analytics charts. I never thought I would say that about Ekholm. I don’t blame Stuart Skinner for the first three goals against, but the 4th stung badly. Jason Robertson made a nice little move beside the net, but that shot can not get past you; it’s never a good goal to allow. Technically no goal is good to allow, but that one was soft. I’d rather write an article where I praise his breakaway saves.

I don’t blame Monday night on one singular player. The whole 20 man group has to learn how to not get too comfortable with a multi-goal lead. They can’t always believe the other team will just give up and let them have the win. I know Corey Perry has been bad in these Playoffs, but it seems Father Time finally caught up with him. But I may not oppose putting him back in the lineup. Connor McDavid told the media last week that Perry is still a leader in the room even when he’s not playing. But I want to see him as a leader on the bench. Even if he doesn’t get points, that’s what the Oilers brought him in for. We might also get a shake-up on defense. Kris Knoblauch didn’t name names, but Philip Broberg may get a shot. We’ve seen Knoblauch not be afraid to make a bold change to the lineup. A young defenseman who spends most of his time in the AHL would most certainly be a bold lineup change at this time of the year. But I’d think it’s more 11/7 rather than Broberg replacing one of the main 6. It’s been reported that Troy Stecher will have ankle surgery. A veteran defenseman who was brought in for depth, we hadn’t heard his name at all since the Playoffs started, and now we know why. It’s unfortunate to not see him once on this run, but here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

Monday was also Ben Stelter’s birthday, he would’ve been 8 years old if he were still with us. There’s still lots of hockey left to play in Round 3, win it all and advance for Ben. The keys to the game are…

We’re On McLeod 9: Ryan McLeod practiced with the team yesterday and may be back inlineupineup tonight as I’m typing this. You look at the goals Edmonton scored in Game 3, they were all Playoff type goals in the blue paint. McLeod is a good defensive player and fast skater, but the criticism he faces is being too much of a perimeter player. He can’t be too afraid to skate to the dirty areas. Maybe sitting a game out taught him a lesson, the same as with Skinner in the Vancouver series.

Final Frame: The Oilers have yet to score a single third-period goal in this series. They outshot the Stars 13-3 in Monday’s third period, but the second-period collapse may’ve hurt them so bad they couldn’t come up with a clutch goal. Vincent Desharnais hit the goal post on a third-period shot, or else he may’ve been a third-period hero. Someone has to be, maybe McLeod in his return. What a headline that would be. Edmonton has scored 3 goals on Jake Oettinger twice in this series; that’s impressive. We just need timely goals at key times in the last 20 now.

Positioning: This key is kind of for having a laugh, but there is still truth to it. At one point in the game, Nurse laid on the ice in front of a wide-open net in a yoga dog pose and blocked a shot by Mason Marchment with his rear end. For all the flack he gets, understandably, I have never seen a funnier defensive play that actually worked the way that one did. I laughed so hard the moment the replay was shown. But it’s also true that you have to do whatever it takes to prevent goals, even if it becomes a meme. It’s weird for me to type this, but it panned out. A play out of desperation is better than no play at all.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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