McDavid scores in double OT as Oilers edge Stars 3-2 in Game 1

Edmonton takes early lead in NHL’s Western Conference final
web1_240523-cpw-hkn-oilers-stars-oil_1
Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid, centre left, gestures toward teammate defenceman Evan Bouchard (2) as teammates left wing Zach Hyman, centre right, and centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, top left, look on after McDavid scored the game-winning goal on an assist by Bouchard during the second overtime in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals against the Dallas Stars, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Connor McDavid scored 32 seconds into double overtime as the visiting 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 back at American Airlines Center. The matchup shifts to Rogers Place in the Alberta 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.

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.

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.

READ MORE: Canada beats Slovakia 6-3 to reach semifinals at hockey worlds

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 OT.

HINTZ SITS

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

POST-SEASON REUNION

The Oilers and Stars met six times in seven playoffs between 1997 and 2003, but hadn’t met since until Thursday. Edmonton won the first series in dramatic fashion before Dallas took the next five.

PLAYOFF FEVER

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. “We’re happy to watch the Mavs go on and do so well. We’re supporting them as they’re supporting us. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in here in Dallas.

“Hopefully good things keep coming here.”

Joshua Clipperton, THE CANADIAN PRESS