Oilers beat Stars 5-2 in Game 4 to tie Western Conference final

Kris Knoblauch thought he might be in for a long night.

The Edmonton coach was watching a confounding, uninspired, flat start unfold in front of him on the Rogers Place ice.

Down 2-1 heading into Game 4 of the NHL’s Western Conference final to Dallas, his team trailed 2-0, had yet to register a shot, and seemed like it might fade into the night midway through the first period Wednesday.

"Didn’t look very good," Knoblauch said.

But in a series with wild momentum swings — Edmonton blew a 2-0 lead before falling 5-3 in Game 3 — the home side was far from out of it.

One good shift finally bled into another. The Oilers pushed back, tied it before the period was out, and didn’t break when the Stars applied pressure. Now the teams are in a best-of-three for a Stanley Cup final berth.

Mattias Janmark and Leon Draisaitl scored in a 51-second span in the second period and the Oilers beat Stars 5-2 to even the series.

"We were a little sleepy," Draisaitl said about the slow start. "Found our legs, got going a little bit, started to play our game."

EDMONTON, CANADA - MAY 29: Evan Bouchard #2 of the Edmonton Oilers scores a first-period goal against the Dallas Stars in Game Four of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on May 29, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta

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Janmark tied it on a short-handed, 2-on-1 break with Connor Brown with 5:29 left in the period, and Draisaitl followed with his 10th of the postseason with 4:38 to go.

Game 5 is Friday night in Dallas.

"Got home ice back," Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. "This isn’t supposed to be easy."

Ryan McLeod, Evan Bouchard and Mattias Ekholm, into a empty net with 1:53 remaining, also scored for Edmonton. Connor McDavid added two assists, and Stuart Skinner made 20 saves.

Wyatt Johnson and Esa Lindell scored as Dallas raced to a 2-0 lead in the first 5 1/2 minutes. McLeod and Bouchard countered for Edmonton late in the period.

Skinner made a big stop on Evgenii Dadonov with the rink still buzzing after the tying burst.

The Stars got their second power play with eight minutes left in regulation, but the Oilers killed their 23rd straight penalty before Ekholm put it away with the empty-netter.

Jake Oettinger stopped 24 shots for Dallas.

Johnston scored his ninth of the playoffs just 58 seconds in when he snapped the puck past Skinner on the first shot of the game.

The crowd gave the Oilers a sarcastic cheer when Edmonton finally got its first shot more than eight minutes into the game.

"It’s funny in the playoffs how the psychology works," Janmark said about blown leads. "We were in the opposite position two days ago. It’s hard to explain."

Edmonton made three lineup changes, inserting defenseman Philip Broberg along with McLeod and fellow forward Corey Perry for Vincent Desharnais, Warren Foegele and Sam Carrick.

Stars defenseman Chris Tanev left in the second period because of a lower-body injury. He didn’t return.