Oilers win, on cusp of first Cup Final in 18 years

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two quick power-play goals, Stuart Skinner stopped 19 shots and the Edmonton Oilers beat the top-seeded Dallas Stars 3-1 in the Western Conference finals Friday night to take a 3-2 series lead.

There hadn’t been a power-play goal by either team in this series until Nugent-Hopkins scored on a rebound only 18 seconds after a penalty in the first period. That was two seconds longer than it took for him to score when the Oilers got a man advantage again after a penalty just a minute into the second period.

Game 6 is Sunday night in Edmonton. With a win at home, the Oilers would advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2006. They were 5-12-1 in November and had already made a coaching change.

Philip Broberg scored a goal from just inside the blue line for the Oilers. Evan Bouchard assisted on both of the power-play goals, while captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a helper on one of them.

The Stars jumped ahead 2-0 in the first 5:29 of Game 4 at Edmonton, and looked as though they were ready to take a stranglehold on the series. Instead, they didn’t have another goal for nearly 109 minutes stretched over six periods for their longest scoring drought of the season.

Edmonton scored eight consecutive goals, getting even by the end of the first period Wednesday night, part of five unanswered goals in a 5-2 victory before going ahead 3-0 on Friday. The Stars, now 4-6 at home this postseason, finally got another puck in the net when Wyatt Johnston scored with 5:51 left.

Jake Oettinger had 23 saves for the Stars.

Dallas had only six shots on goal halfway through the game, but Skinner already had some quality stops by then — and more after that, including on the Stars’ only power play late in the second period.

Skinner knocked down a one-timer chance by the 21-year-old Johnston only seconds after rejecting Miro Heiskanen during that power play. Then early in the third, Johnston was denied on an in-close shot before Matt Duchene’s backhander.

Oettinger really had no chance on Nugent-Hopkins’ first goal, when he scored on a rebound after Bouchard’s shot was blocked by Chris Tanev, the defenseman who had been questionable for the game after taking a shot off his right foot in the second period of the last game. The puck went right to Nugent-Hopkins on the opposite side of the goalie.

Heiskanen got a delay of game penalty only 50 seconds into the second after knocking the puck over the glass into the stands. Edmonton needed only 16 seconds to score, with Draisaitl feeding Nugent-Hopkins for a 30-foot snap shot.

Four minutes later, Evander Kane won a faceoff against Joe Pavelski in the right circle, then Adam Henrique got the puck to Broberg for a long shot.

Pavelski, who played in his 200th career playoff game, had a shoulder-to-shoulder collision in the first period with fellow 39-year-old skater Corey Perry, who with 208 playoff games is the only other active player with at least 200. Perry left and went to the locker room, but was back on the ice in the second period.

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