NHL Playoff Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars | Round 3, Game 5 | 05/31/2024

Oilers fans find themselves feeling more confident after Game 4 as opposed to after Game 3. Going back to Dallas tied 2-2 is less stressful than if they’d been down 3-1. It takes 4 wins to advance, but 3 in a row? Against this team? Each one Do-Or-Die? Good luck with that.

With Darnell Nurse being a lightning rod topic during these Playoffs and giving an awkward 1 minute interview with reporters before Game 4 started, it felt good to see him bounce back with his best game of the postseason. Imagine what it was like going through his head when the Oilers were down 2-0 really early in the first period. He moved on and was great the rest of the way, even getting an assist. Putting up 12 hits is the side of Nurse’s game that fans miss seeing from him on a regular basis. You can’t even blame him for the goals that Edmonton allowed, and I think that’s what gets lost in the collective narratives about him. Has he been great in these Playoffs? No. Do I like his contract? Lord, no. But not every goal against is his fault all the time. It’s why players hate +/- as an individual stat. His partner made a bad play at the blue line on the first Stars goal, and the second goal was an unlucky deflection off his rear end, which is pretty funny if you remember Game 3 and if you’re not biased. The backside giveth, and the backside taketh away. “Everyone and their dog coming at him this morning” is a quote from Connor Brown during post-game interviews when sticking up for his teammate. He’s no stranger to being a whipping boy in a Canadian hockey market. For 3/4 of the regular season, he was the player fans lost patience with. But he’s been really shining in the third round, including his assist on a shorthanded goal.

Ryan McLeod and Corey Perry were put back into the line-up. They were both on a line with Leon Draisaitl as their centerman, and it looked good. Perry had been having a bad postseason offensively, and McLeod was scratched for a reset to try and switch things up on the ice. Scoring the first Oilers to get his team back into it must’ve felt good for him. McLeod is a player who gets a decent share of fan criticism as well, and it would’ve been really hard to be him after Game 7 when Edmonton almost blew that 3-0 lead because of an on-ice error made by him. It was a goal from around the blue paint, after an initial shot was stopped. That’s something you don’t normally see from a perimeter player like him.

Another risk was sitting Vincent Desharnais, considering that he contributed to the team’s successful penalty kill. Philip Broberg looked okay going so long without a single game played between the NHL and the AHL.

For Stuart Skinner, it was the same trend we’ve seen from him in the regular season. Allow everything on the first 4 or 5 shots, then stop everything and improve as the game goes on. It drives fans crazy, but you’ve got to applaud the mental toughness sometimes.

I would just like to make a quick shoutout to the Dallas Stars fanbase, donating $20K to the Ben Stelter Foundation after the whole controversy about La Bamba being played in their rink after Game 2. I didn’t really make much of it when that happened. I just figured the DJ didn’t know the meaning behind the song’s popularity in Edmonton. But it was a classy move by the city of Dallas, turning it into a positive and charitable action that I greatly respect. However this series ends, thank you Stars fans for your generosity. The keys to the game are…

Green Man Down?: Chris Tanev left the Stars bench in Game 4 after blocking a shot and was seen at the airport wearing a boot. So either he’s not playing the rest of the series, or he’ll play through it because it’s the Playoffs, but it will look noticeably worse. Tanev has been a warrior his whole career, it’d have to be a really bad injury to keep him out of Dallas’s line-up. He’s been a mainstay for their PK, but this inconvenience for the Stars might help the Oilers powerplay turn a corner.

Momentum Shifts: Perhaps this is what the rest of the series will come down to. On Monday night, Edmonton took a multi-goal lead and then blew it to lose. On Wednesday night, the Stars took a multi-goal lead and then blew it to lose. Can any fan’s emotions handle that?

Any Save Or Shot Is Good: Late in the first period on Wednesday night, Connor McDavid had a shot on the PP that missed because the puck hit Jake Oettinger’s stick after he had it lying on the goal line. If you think a goalie is out of the play, they’re not really out of it; work harder with scoring chances. We’ve seen that example with Nurse twice in this series.

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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