Dallas Stars eliminated in what could have been “our best game”

As for what the Dallas Stars did in Game 6, captain Jamie Benn said it was probably his team’s best performance in the Western Conference Finals.

It’s also the one that saw the Stars get eliminated in Game 6 of the West Finals for the second year in a row.

Despite making three shots and possessing the puck 75 percent of the time, the Stars fell short in a 2-1 loss Sunday to the Edmonton Oilers, who reached the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 2006.

“You could probably say it was our best game of the series,” Benn said. “It just didn’t go our way.”

Going into Game 6, the Stars’ goal was to echo the comeback they made in the first round of the playoffs, when after trailing a two-game deficit against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, Dallas ended up winning the series in seven games.

This time, the Stars took a 2-1 series lead before the Oilers scored a total of eight goals in their wins in Games 4 and 5, giving them a chance to clinch in six. A Stars victory Sunday would have forced a deciding game in Dallas, giving coach Peter DeBoer a chance to improve to 8-0 in Game 7.

Instead, the Stars’ flight back to Dallas will kick off an offseason fueled by the reality that they are still in a championship window.

“We came through a challenge and beat some really good teams and knew we had something special,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. “We lost to a team we thought we could beat and sometimes it’s the playoffs. Sometimes it’s that rebound, that goal, that save. That’s why we all love it. That’s why it “It’s the hardest fucking trophy in the world to win.”

Edmonton led 2-0 late in the first period after Connor McDavid drove his way to the net before firing a point-blank shot past Jake Oettinger, then Zach Hyman scored a power play goal with a little more than three. minutes remaining in the frame.

Not only did the Oilers have a two-goal lead after the first, but they did so by mustering just three shots while the Stars had 12.

The Stars would finish with 35 shots, the Oilers with 10. Natural Stat Trick metrics show the Stars had a 73.75% shooting share in 5-on-5 play while also accumulating 10 high-danger scoring chances , which they had not done. it hasn’t been done since game 3.

And they had three chances on the power play, while the Oilers only had one with the extra skater advantage.

Even with their latest loss, losing in the conference finals for a second straight season reinforces the Stars’ belief that they are in a championship window. The group has reached three West Finals in the last five years for an organization that built its roster through the draft.

Benn was one of 10 players drafted by the Stars who played for them in Game 6. The team’s young talent includes Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Wyatt Johnston, Thomas Harley, Oettinger and Mavrik Bourque, who made his playoff debut on Sunday.

Benn, 34, is one of 13 Stars players under contract for next season. Harley, as a restricted free agent, is among those who will remain under team control. Others, like trade deadline acquisition Chris Tanev, second-round series hero Matt Duchene and veteran forward Joe Pavelski, are unrestricted free agents.

“I believe so, yes,” Benn said of setting the Stars up for a strong future. “But I’m not really thinking about it right now. It’s a tough time.”

Seguin, who is under contract for three more seasons, shared his reasons for optimism.

He said the recent Stanley Cup champions had to endure painful losses before reaching their goal, noting that it took time for the Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning to break through.

Another team he mentioned is the one the Oilers will face in the Stanley Cup final: the Florida Panthers. They lost in the first round in 2019 and again in 2020 before reaching the second round in 2021 and losing, only to find themselves in back-to-back Cup finals for the first time in team history.

“Unfortunately, you have to lose a lot to win in this league,” said Seguin, who won a Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011. “I don’t know why it’s like that. Learn some lessons, keep that taste and get ready for next year.”

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