McDavid Survives Earlier Penalty to Score in Overtime as Oilers Take Game 1 From Stars

McDavid Survives Earlier Penalty to Score in Overtime as Oilers Take Game 1 From Stars

The Edmonton Oilers celebrate after Connor McDavid's overtime goal produced a 3–2 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference final in Dallas on May 23, 2024. (Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo)

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

5/23/2024

Updated: 5/23/2024

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DALLAS—Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid felt absolutely miserable sitting in the penalty box after taking a double-minor for high-sticking only seconds into the first overtime of Thursday night’s NHL Western Conference final opening game against the Dallas Stars.
After his teammates bailed out McDavid with yet another penalty kill, they were mobbing him when he scored only 32 seconds into the second overtime on a nifty re-direction of a pass from defenseman Evan Bouchard to give Edmonton a 3–2 victory.
“It was nice to score an overtime goal,“ McDavid said. ”A big goal.”
Especially after what happened to start overtime.
McDavid and Matt Duchene of the Stars were skating away from the center circle near each other after McDavid had won the faceoff between the two. There initially was not a whistle when Duchene took a stick to the face, though McDavid argued that his stick was being held.
It wasn’t until Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger secured the puck after a shot from Bouchard and stopped the clock 17 seconds into overtime that officials did a replay review. They called a high-sticking penalty after seeing the review and the blood on Duchene’s lower lip.
“My thing was I don’t know what I’m supposed to do there,“ McDavid said. ”I am going forward trying to play the puck. It feels like he’s holding my stick. I didn’t even really feel the high stick at all. I think his face comes down on my stick. Maybe just unlucky, I guess.”
As for his time in the penalty box, “Really long. Really, really long. Miserable. Hated every second of it.”
Leon Draisaitl extended his playoff-opening point streak to 13 games with a goal, and Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots, including nine in overtime, three nights after Edmonton wrapped up its second-round series with a Game 7 victory at Vancouver.
Tyler Seguin had both goals for the Stars, who have lost Game 1 in seven consecutive playoff series since 2022.
“I think we’ve had some Game 1’s where we’ve really been feeling it out and laying a few eggs,” Seguin said. “That wasn’t the case tonight. This was a little different. So, yeah, lot of things to build off of.”
Game 2 is Saturday night in Dallas.
The Stars were 0 for 3 on the power play in regulation. Dallas called a timeout after getting three shots on goal and seeing Jason Robertson twice hit a goal post through the first three minutes of McDavid’s double-minor penalty. But the Stars got only one more shot on net after that before McDavid was out of the penalty box.
McDavid had a chance to end the game about 14 1/2 minutes into the first overtime, but his shot was blocked when Oettinger and defenseman Chris Tanev both put their sticks down to keep the puck out of the net. The Oilers captain couldn’t be stopped in the second overtime.
“We’re not surprised in here. He’s the best in the world,” Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “He had a good look in the first overtime, too ... By my experience of being here, he doesn’t get denied twice.”
The Stars' Matt Duchene (L) and Dylan Holloway of the Oilers eye a loose puck during Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference final in Dallas on May 23, 2024. (Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo)

The Stars' Matt Duchene (L) and Dylan Holloway of the Oilers eye a loose puck during Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference final in Dallas on May 23, 2024. (Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo)

Oettinger finished with 35 saves.
Seguin tied it 2–2 with 3:23 left in the regulation after an active shift when he touched the puck several times before scoring into an open side of the net to the right of Skinner. Evgenii Dadonov was between two defenders on the other side when he deftly re-directed the puck across the crease to Seguin.
Edmonton scored first, about a minute into the second period, when Draisaitl got his ninth goal of the postseason. He buried a shot from just inside the right circle after Brett Kulak’s shot had caromed off Stars defenseman Esa Lindell.
While not credited with an assist, McDavid helped set up that initial score from behind the net. He fell down and was in a sitting position against the boards when he pushed the puck out front, where Hyman got a piece of it before Kulak.
McDavid did get the helper on Hyman’s goal that made it 2–0 about 3 1/2 minutes later. The captain’s backhand centering pass hit Tanev’s stick before Hyman took the puck and scored.
The Stars got within 2–1 when team captain Jamie Benn made a push toward the net that drew out Skinner. With the goalie sprawled forward, Benn had a backhander that went behind him and across the crease to Seguin, who poked it through Kulak’s legs.
Edmonton almost restored its two-goal advantage when Ekholm got a puck past Oettinger with about eight minutes left in the second period, but it bounced off the crossbar.
Including the double-minor in overtime, the Oilers have killed 20 consecutive penalties over five-plus games. They are the best in the league this postseason at 92.5 percent (37 of 40), after ranking in the middle of the pack during the regular season.
“They’re just so connected, so in sync and skating well,” McDavid said of Edmonton’s penalty-killers. “The [opponents] have the extra guy, but sometimes you can’t even tell. It’s so fun to watch.”
By Stephen Hawkins
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