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McDavid gets the winner in the 2nd OT after Oilers overcome captain’s penalty to beat Stars 3-2

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DALLAS (AP) — Oilers captain Connor McDavid felt absolutely miserable sitting in the penalty box after he was called for a double-minor penalty only seconds into the first overtime of the Western Conference Final opener.

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 tip-in from Evan Bouchard to give Edmonton a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

“It was nice to score an overtime goal,” McDavid said. “A big goal.”

Especially after what happened to start overtime.

McDavid and Matt Duchene were skating away from the center circle by each other after the Oilers captain had won the faceoff between the two to open the first overtime period. There wasn’t initially a whistle when Duchene took a stick to the face, though McDavid argued that his stick was being held.

It wasn’t until Stars goalie Jake Oettinger secured the puck on a shot by Bouchard to stop the clock 17 seconds into overtime that officials did a replay review. They called a high-stick penalty after seeing that 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 points streak to 13 games with a goal, and Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots, nine in the overtime, three nights after they wrapped up their second-round series with a Game 7 victory on the road at Vancouver.

Tyler Seguin had both goals for the Stars, who have lost Game 1 in their last seven 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.

Dallas was 0 for 3 on power plays in regulation, and called a timeout after three shots and Jason Robertson hitting a post through the first three minutes of that 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 with about 5 1/2 minutes left in 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.”

Oettinger had 35 saves.

Seguin tied it at 2 with 3:23 left in the regulation after an active shift when he touched the puck several times before scoring to the open net to the right of Skinner. Evgenii Dadonov was between two defenders on the other side when the puck went off his stick and across the crease.

Edmonton scored first about a minute into the second period when Leon Draisaitl got his ninth goal of the postseason. His shot from just inside the right circle after Brett Kulak’s shot ricocheted 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 board 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 backhanded crossing pass hit the stick of Tanev before Hyman took the puck and scored.

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.

The Stars got within 2-1 when Jamie Benn, their captain, made a push toward the net that drew out Skinner. With the goalie spread eagle and leaning forward, Benn had a backhander that went behind him and across the crease to Seguin, who poked it through Kulak’s legs.

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% (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 the Oilers’ PK unit. “They have the extra guy, but sometimes you can’t even tell. It’s so fun to watch.”

And quite a relief after being the player in the box.

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AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

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