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McDavid scores in double overtime as Oilers beat Stars for series lead


DALLAS — Connor McDavid had already spent the longest four minutes of his life in the penalty box.

And after the Oilers survived their captain's double-minor for high-sticking in overtime Thursday, the three-time NHL MVP and five-time scoring champion had the game on his stick only to be denied by a combination of Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenceman Chris Tanev.

McDavid would have been staring at the ceiling all night had his team not pulled out a victory.

The superstar ensured he got at least some shut-eye.

McDavid redirected a pass from Evan Bouchard 32 seconds into double OT as Edmonton defeated Dallas 3-2 to grab a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference final.

"He doesn't get denied twice," Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm said. "Didn't really matter who got it tonight, but obviously the important thing was somebody got it, and it was Connor.

"I'm not shocked that it was him."

The feeling could have been so much different.

Edmonton killed that McDavid penalty off the opening faceoff of OT — Jason Robertson hit both of Skinner's posts in quick succession on the ensuing power play — when he clipped Matt Duchene in the mouth.

"Long, really long … really, really long," McDavid, who added an assist before netting the second playoff OT goal of his career, said of his time in the sin bin. "Miserable. I hated every second of it, but the guys did an amazing job."

McDavid then nearly won it later in the first extra period when he tried to outwait Oettinger alone in front only to watch both the netminder and Tanev combine to get their sticks in the way and deny the golden opportunity.

"I just have to put it in the net — simple as that," he said. "It should have been in the net. Glad that we were able to get the win, otherwise I would have had a tough time sleeping."

Zach Hyman, with a goal and an assist, and Leon Draisaitl also scored for Edmonton. The Oilers have now registered six one-goal victories — including killing off 37 of 40 penalties — in these playoffs.

"Great for momentum," said Oilers netminder Stuart Skinner, who finished with 31 saves. "Being able to keep this momentum moving forward is going to be massive."

Tyler Seguin, with two goals, replied for Dallas, which finished 0-for-5 on the power play. Oettinger stopped 35 shots. The Stars have now lost seven straight Game 1s.

"We did some of the things we set out to do," Dallas head coach Pete DeBoer said. "You've got to score on that double-minor. That's probably the game right there."

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series goes Saturday back at American Airlines Center. The matchup shifts to Rogers Place in Alberta's capital Monday and Wednesday.

McDavid joined Wayne Gretzky as the only two players in NHL history to record 20 assists through 13 or fewer games in a post-season multiple times after setting up Hyman's second-period goal.

Draisaitl, meanwhile, became the fifth different player all-time to open a post-season with a 13-game point streak.

The Stars dispatched the Colorado Avalanche with a double OT victory in Game 6 to advance to the third round, while the Oilers went the distance to get past the Vancouver Canucks.

Dallas lost out to the Vegas Golden Knights in last spring's conference final. Edmonton was swept by Colorado at the same stage in 2022. Both the Golden Knights, who also eliminated the Oilers some 12 months ago, and Avalanche went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Edmonton opened Thursday's scoring 58 seconds into the second when Brett Kulak's partially blocked shot fell kindly to Draisaitl for him to bury his ninth.

Skinner made a big stop on Esa Lindell a few minutes later before Edmonton broke the other way. McDavid's initial rush chance was thwarted, but Hyman outmuscled both Lindell and Tanev to slide home his fourth at 4:17.

McDavid also had 20 assists in 13 playoff games in 2022. Gretzky accomplished the feat in 11 games in 1983 and 1985, and in 13 contests in 1987.

Kulak gifted Dallas, which made the Cup final in the 2020 pandemic-necessitated bubble, its opener at 6:11 when he fanned on a pass that was scooped up by Jamie Benn. The Stars captain slid the puck through the crease with Skinner down and out for Seguin to tap in his fourth.

Skinner, who lost and regained the Oilers' crease against Vancouver, held the fort late in the period with Dallas pressing.

The Stars tied it with 3:23 left in regulation when Robertson's shot hit Evgenii Dadonov in front and bounced right to Seguin for his second of the night.

Oettinger made a massive save on Dylan Holloway on a breakaway moments later to force an OT that turned into a roller-coaster for McDavid.

"If we didn't pull that game out, I'm not sure Connor would have slept tonight," Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said. "It's only fitting that he was the hero."


Stars No. 1 centre Roope Hintz missed a third straight contest with an upper-body injury. DeBoer said he's hopeful the 27-year-old will be available for Game 2.


The NBA's Dallas Mavericks are up 1-0 in the Western Conference final after Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers won the World Series in the fall.

"The city's buzzing," Benn said. "Hopefully good things keep coming here."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2024.


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