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Edmonton Oilers send Dallas Stars a loud and clear message in Game 1

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First blood in the Western Conference finals is green.

The Edmonton Oilers opened the third round of the playoffs by making it perfectly clear that this will not be the type of Dallas fight that most experts predicted, defeating the Central Division champions 3-2 in double overtime.

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The Oilers said from the beginning that they are good enough to win this, now they have proven it after Connor McDavid’s game-winning goal 32 seconds into the second overtime.

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“You have to win close games,” McDavid said. “We are among the last four teams and you don’t get to the final four without being a great team. Dallas is a great team and it will be close hockey. We feel comfortable in these games and in this environment.

“I think we played very well throughout the game.”

After leaving his team shorthanded for four minutes early in the first overtime and then missing a golden opportunity to win late, McDavid put his stamp on the night with the decisive goal.

“He had a good look in the first overtime to get it done and in my experience here he’s not denied twice,” Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “It didn’t really matter who did it tonight, the important thing was that someone got it. “It was Connor and I’m not surprised it was him.”

Game 1 was classic Edmonton-Dallas and lost a shot in the series opener with virtually nothing separating the two best teams in the conference.

The Oilers were a profile of resilience, surviving a slow first period, a late Dallas comeback and a potentially catastrophic double minor penalty in overtime to take a 1-0 series lead on a night in which the Stars had five power plays to Edmonton’s one.

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“We’ve talked all season about how mature and responsible they are, how they handle adversity, no matter what,” head coach Kris Knoblauch said. “We just move on and get ready for the next turn. (Late goals to tie) those can be difficult for a team, difficult to regroup.

“But I didn’t see any deflation from our guys, they just stuck with it.”

HEROIC PK

McDavid’s stick is usually the reason the Oilers win games, but it almost cost them Thursday.

The Oilers captain took a double minor 17 seconds into overtime to Matt Duchene on the faceoff, putting Edmonton on the defensive for four agonizing minutes.

“Long. Really long. Really, really long,” McDavid said of his time in the Dallas sin bin. “Miserable. I hated every second.”

But the Oilers penalty killers put on a heroic performance to save the game.

“The penalty was just unbelievable,” McDavid said. “You can’t give those guys enough credit for stepping in for four minutes against a good power play.”

Edmonton’s penalty kill remains a highlight of their playoff career. Two kills in the first period, another in the second and then four minutes in overtime give them 19 consecutive kills in the last five games.

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“Our guys knew what had to be done,” Knoblauch said. “It’s almost like our (penalty shooters) are excited to get out there, like ‘We have a job to do and we’re going to do it.'”

GOOD SIGNS

The concerns about the Oilers heading into this series (depth and goaltending) held up nicely in Game 1. Edmonton’s third and fourth lines generated momentum, Stuart Skinner held up his end of the deal against Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger and, from there, the top of Edmonton. The players showed that once again they could be counted on in the playoffs.

But after Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman made it 2-0 Edmonton in the second period, the Stars showed some of their own mettle by coming back to tie the score with a pair of goals from Tyler Seguin, the second coming with 3: 23 to play. the third period, to force extension.

Draisaitl’s goal extended his playoff point streak to 13 games, tying Mark Messier and Bobby Orr for the third-longest postseason in NHL history.

REVENGE SERVED COLD

It took 27 years, but the Stars finally got a little revenge for Curtis Joseph’s epic overtime save on Joe Nieuwendyk in the 1997 playoffs. McDavid was practically in the same place as Nieuwendyk, with time, space and game in your control. But Oettinger, with the help of defenseman Chris Tanev, managed to dominate him. In the end, Edmonton won, but it was a big stop.

“I just have to put it in the net, it’s as simple as that,” McDavid said. “It should have been on the net. I’m glad I was able to get the win, otherwise I would have had a hard time sleeping.”

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