June 15th, 2024

Nugent-Hopkins leads Oilers past Stars to take 3-2 lead in Western Conference final

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on May 31, 2024.

DALLAS – The Edmonton Oilers are one victory from the Stanley Cup final.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two power-play goals as Edmonton smothered the Dallas Stars 3-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the NHL’s Western Conference final on Friday.

Philip Broberg had the other goal for Edmonton. Stuart Skinner made 19 saves. Evan Bouchard added two assists.

Wyatt Johnston replied for Dallas, which has lost two in a row and now faces elimination after leading the best-of-seven series 2-1. Jake Oettinger stopped 23 shots.

Stars defenceman Chris Tanev suited up after taking a shot off his right foot in the second period of Game 4.

The Oilers, who last made the final in 2006 and last hoisted hockey’s holy grail in 1990, can close things out Sunday in Edmonton. Game 7, if necessary, would be Tuesday back in Dallas.

The winner of Game 5 when a best-of-seven matchup is tied 2-2 has gone on to win 78.8 per cent of the time (231-62), including 50-15 (.769) when the matchup is immediately before the final.

Nugent-Hopkins scored the first power-play goal of the series at 14:09 of the opening period. Bouchard’s one-timer was blocked by Tanev, but the puck popped right to the longest-serving Oilers player at the side of the net for him to swat home his fifth of the post-season.

The Stars were short-handed after Ryan Suter was whistled for roughing on Edmonton captain Connor McDavid – a call that had the veteran defenceman fuming.

Dallas got a chance on the man advantage when Edmonton was caught with too many men on the ice, but the visitors’ stout penalty kill doused a 24th straight infraction dating back to Game 4 of the second round against the Vancouver Canucks.

Corey Perry went to the Oilers locker room earlier in the period favouring his right shoulder after a hard check on fellow 39-year-old forward Joe Pavelski, but returned in the second.

Edmonton made it 2-0 on another power play 66 seconds into the second when Bouchard and Leon Draisaitl combined to find a streaking Nugent-Hopkins, who ripped a shot off the post inside a stunned American Airlines Center.

The Oilers went up by three 4:03 later when Broberg – inserted into the lineup in Game 4 – blasted his first through a crowd on Oettinger.

Dallas got a bit of life after finally killing of an Edmonton man advantage, but the visitors fended off a 25th straight short-handed opportunity late in the period thanks to a couple good Skinner stops on Seguin and Johnston.

The Oilers goaltender then made a big saves Logan Stankoven, Matt Duchene and Sam Steel in the third to keep the Stars off the scoreboard before Johnston broke the shutout bid with his 10th on a deflection at 14:09, but Edmonton would hold onto and will head home up 3-2.


Pavelski became the 25th player in NHL history to dress for 200 post-season games. Perry – the league’s active leader – made his 208th appearance to tie Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr.


McDavid and Draisaitl picked up assists to overtake Oilers great and current assistant coach Paul Coffey for fifth on the franchise’s all-time playoff points list. Edmonton’s dynamic duo each have 104 points in 66 career games, while Coffey amassed 103 in 94 contests.


Bouchard (45 games played) became the third-fastest defenceman in NHL history to reach 50 playoff points behind only Bobby Orr (39 GP) and Brian Leetch (41 GP).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2024.


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