Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers take 3-2 series lead over Stars

League: NHL

Posted on: 01 Jun, 2024 at 05:44 AM

Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers last reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2006. They are one win from returning after claiming a 3-1 road victory over the Dallas Stars on Friday.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a pair of power-play goals, Philip Broberg added his first career playoff goal and Stuart Skinner made 19 saves for the Oilers, who lead the best-of-seven Western Conference final 3-2.

The Oilers will try to finish the series Sunday night at home.

"It'll take our best effort," said captain Connor McDavid, who assisted on Nugent-Hopkins' first power-play goal. "It's four wins for a reason. It's tough to get any wins in the playoffs, let alone four against a team. They're a great group over there and are gonna respond."

A carbon copy of Friday's performance should do the trick. While holding the Stars to only 10 shots on net through the first two periods, Edmonton played about as perfect of a game as could be expected at this juncture of the playoffs.

The two man-advantage markers by Nugent-Hopkins, the first power-play goals by either team in this series, set the tone. The 2011 first overall draft choice who is Edmonton's longest serving player chipped a backhanded rebound attempt into the cage at 14:09 of the first period to open the scoring.

Nugent-Hopkins doubled the lead 66 seconds into the second period with a shot that went off the post and in for his sixth goal of the playoffs.

"He's been my favorite ever since I was a young buck," Skinner said. "I was that kid watching him on television going, ‘Nuuuuge.' I've always been a big fan of him and it's pretty amazing to see what he can do. He's a leader for a reason, he's such a good player, such a good two-way player, and does everything right."

Broberg, who made his playoff debut in Game 4, netted his milestone marker at 5:09 of the middle frame with a long slap shot.

Wyatt Johnston scored for the Stars with 5:51 remaining in regulation, which snapped Skinner's shutout streak at 108 minutes and 43 seconds, to net his 10th goal of the playoffs. Goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 23 shots.

It was nowhere near enough for the Stars, who were the conference's best club during the regular season but are facing elimination after dropping two consecutive games.

"You're excited. This is the fun part. What have you got to lose?" forward Tyler Seguin said. "It's a heck of a challenge, the whole season, going into that rink. We've taken pride in how we've been on the road all year."

Dallas has won six of eight road games during the playoffs, compared to a 4-6 home record.

"We're the best road team in the league, playoffs and regular season," Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. "We've got to win one road game."

One road game in a hockey-crazed city.

"The crowd's gonna be buzzing, for sure," Nugent-Hopkins said. "They're gonna be loud and excited. For us, it's about controlling the emotions, playing within ourselves and just trusting our game's good enough to get the job done."

--Field Level Media