Quite a ride with Connor McDavid in Dallas: The forward gives the Oilers victory in second overtime

Quite a ride with Connor McDavid in Dallas: The forward gives the Oilers victory in second overtime
Quite a ride with Connor McDavid in Dallas: The forward gives the Oilers victory in second overtime

DALLAS | It was a hair-raising roller coaster ride that Connor McDavid experienced in the first game of the series between the Oilers and the Stars in Dallas, but as is often the case, the star forward ended up in control, the two hands on the steering wheel.

If this first meeting in the noisy American Airlines Center was like the rest of the series, make sure to buckle in because the ride promises to be whirlwind.

The Oilers seemed in control with a two-goal lead, which they blew away, finally regaining control in the second overtime with a score of 3-2.

It only took 32 seconds for McDavid to put the finishing touches after a perfect relay from defender Evan Bouchard, but everything was not that simple, far from it.

Hostilities got off to a bad start in overtime when the Oilers star went to the penalty box for four interminable minutes for high-sticking Matt Duchene. Four minutes during which Stars striker Jason Robertson hit the post. Not once, but twice!

“It seemed like a long time, so long. I felt miserable. Fortunately the guys did an incredible job,” sighed McDavid, in front of a horde of journalists in the tiny visiting locker room, who invaded the place like Americans at the door of a Wal-Mart in Black Friday.

The Oilers stayed alive and McDavid appeared to be on his way to redemption moments later. With a net that seemed wide open, he hesitated for a long time before taking the shot, paving the way for a last-minute save by goalkeeper Jake Oettinger with his stick, helped by that of defender Chris Tanev, stretched to its full length.

“I just had to put the puck in the goal. It’s that simple. “I’m relieved that we won because I would have had trouble sleeping,” McDavid conceded.

Not killable

After two difficult moments of this kind, several players would have taken their hole, but not the 97 of the Oilers, who redeemed himself in the best way with the victorious goal.

It was a big goal with a big play from Bouchard, as usual. Our guys on the penalty kill were amazing to hold on for four minutes. They are so in control right now,” commented the hero of the match, who also had an assist on Zach Hyman’s 12th goal, which gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead.

A unit in full control

Let’s talk about this numerical disadvantage which didn’t just impress McDavid.

This unit shut down five Stars power plays in this game. Since the start of the series, the Oilers have only conceded three goals in 40 numerical disadvantages, for a formidable efficiency rate of 92.5%.

Going back to the end of the regular season, the Oilers have killed the last six double minors at their expense. This team therefore seems to be reaching a new maturity in precarious situations, having won six of its nine series victories by the margin of one goal.

Hats off, Skinner!

Getty Images via AFP

Another factor that worked in favor of the Oilers was the impeccable outfit of goaltender Stuart Skinner. The poor guy, unless he isolates himself on Pluto, can’t help but hear for several days that the Oilers are winning despite him.

Taunted throughout the evening by Stars fans, he made 33 saves, several of which were quite complex.

From the first engagement, he set the tone by stopping Evgenii Dadonov on a breakaway.

He was in perfect control until in the second period, former Canadian Brett Kulak made a blunder by dropping the puck deep into his zone. It was enough for Tyler Seguin to score the first of his two goals.

It’s only a beginning

Now, the Stars will certainly not give up their weapons. After all, this same team overcame a two-game deficit to eliminate the Golden Knights. It has just eliminated the last two Stanley Cup champion teams.

He must now find the miracle recipe to neutralize Connor McDavid, who had only two goals since the start of the series, but who was able to hit the target in an important moment in Dallas.

“No one is surprised here. He is the best in the world. He had a good chance to finish it in the first overtime and in my experience since I arrived here, he doesn’t get told no twice,” commented defender Mattias Ekholm, the second most used player in the match (31 min 16 s) on both sides, after the indestructible Stars defender Miro Heiskanen (33 min 08 s).

The second match will be presented on Saturday, still in Dallas.

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