Oettinger Back to Being Oettinger

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

When the Vegas Golden Knights went up 3-0 in their series with the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Finals, many hockey pundits and fans alike knew what needed to happen for the Stars to get themselves back in the series.

Simply put, Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger needed to start playing like the goalie he was in the regular season and the goalie he was in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. On both occasions, Oettinger, 24, made timely saves, won hockey games, and was everything and more for the Stars.

Fast forward to today (Sunday, May 28th), and the series is now 3-2, heading into Game 6 on Monday night, May 29th. While much credit for the Stars’ last two wins can be given to Jason Robertson for finding his scoring touch at the right time, a lot of it should go to Oettinger.

Oettinger was spectacular in Game 4 for his hockey club as he stopped 37 of 39 shots in helping his team pick up their first win in the series. It was a game where Oettinger controlled his rebounds, made big saves when he had to, and was the rock that he had been all season long for the Stars.

His win in Game 4 was also a confidence-building win for Oettinger. In the first three games of the series, his performances were sub-par at best, as he posted the following statistics:

  • Game 1: Stopped 33 of 37 shots
  • Game 2: Stopped 21 of 24 shots
  • Game 3: Stopped two of five shots

In those three games he combined, he allowed 10 goals and had put his team behind the eight ball. Sure, it was not all his fault, but his play between the pipes certainly was not helping his team out.

In Game 5, Oettinger’s timely saves helped his team defeat the Golden Knights by a score of 4-2. While the Stars ended up outshooting the Golden Knights, there were times in the game when the Golden Kingiths controlled the play, and when that happened, Oettinger was there to make the big saves and give his team a chance to win a hockey game.

Oettinger’s strong play when his team needs him the most is nothing new. In fact, prior to his team’s loss in Game 2 against the Golden Knights, he was 22-1-3 with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage after a loss in the regular season and playoffs.

After his team’s loss in Game 3, Oettinger has responded with two straight victories and has stopped 64 of 68 shots. That is exactly the kind of goaltending that the team has become accustomed to since Oettinger joined the team full-time in the 2020-21 season.

On Monday night in Game 6, Oettinger will have to go out and play the same way he did in Games 4 and 5. That means controlling his rebounds, not giving up any soft goals, coming up with big saves, and doing everything he can to give his team a chance to win a hockey game.

Should Oettinger do those things, we could end up seeing a Game 7 where Oettinger has a chance to once again be the team’s hero.

The Vegas Fever Podcast is BACK!!! The Vegas Fever Podcast

We chat about the hot start for the Golden Knights, UNLV football's success and the upcoming Rebel basketball season, among other Vegas things. Thanks for checking us out! Be sure to subscribe after you listen! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  1. The Vegas Fever Podcast is BACK!!!
  2. VGK free agency recap, Knights news and notes. UNLV roster update
  5. Will the VGK win Game 6/7 or choke away the WCF?

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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