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Connor McDavid scores in 2OT, Oilers win Game 1 of Western Conference final

Connor McDavid scored 32 seconds into double overtime as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday in Game 1 of the NHL’s Western Conference final.

The superstar captain took a pass from Evan Bouchard and redirected his third goal of the playoffs from the slot on Stars netminder Jake Oettinger.

Zach Hyman, with a goal and an assist, and Leon Draisaitl also scored for Edmonton. Stuart Skinner made 31 saves. McDavid also had an assist for a two-point night.

Tyler Seguin, with two goals, replied for Dallas, which got 35 stops from Oettinger.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series goes Saturday at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The matchup shifts to Rogers Place in Edmonton Monday and Wednesday.

Dallas Stars centre Tyler Seguin (91) scores a goal on Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period. (Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press)

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.

Edmonton killed off a four-minute McDavid penalty for high-sticking off the opening faceoff of OT — Jason Robertson hit both of Skinner’s posts in quick succession on the ensuing power play — when the centre clipped Matt Duchene in the mouth.

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

A hockey goaltender makes a save as another player in front of him jumps int he air.
Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) makes a save as Edmonton Oilers left wing Warren Foegele (37) applies a screen during overtime in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals on Thursday in Dallas. (Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press)

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, which made the Cup final in the 2020 pandemic-necessitated bubble, 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.

Draisatil, Hyman score for Oilers

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.

WATCH | Oilers fans gear up for Game 1 with Dallas Stars: 

Oilers fans keeping Canada’s Stanley Cup dreams alive

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Edmonton Oilers fans are buzzing for Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference final. From pre-game rituals to superstitions, fans are all in, trying to keep the dream alive for the last Canadian team left in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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 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 OT.

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