What Went Wrong for Dallas Stars in WCF Loss?

Dallas Stars Thank Fans | Image by Dallas Stars/Facebook

The Dallas Stars’ season ended this weekend following their Game 6 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, as they struggled with two key aspects that proved crucial in their losses.

Dallas was unable to seize control of the series despite having chances in multiple games. They also failed to maintain the strong power play management that had taken place during their first two series.

Missed Opportunities

Despite the Stars’ early 2-1 series lead over the Oilers, they were unable to significantly distance themselves in the series due to missed opportunities in various games.

The first of these opportunities came in Game 1, as the Stars managed to crawl back into the game and force overtime after the Oilers led 2-0 in the second period.

This first overtime period offered the Stars a chance to take early control of the series when Oilers center Connor McDavid, considered one of the best players in the league, was forced out of the game for four minutes due to a penalty.

Dallas failed to capitalize on this power play, remaining scoreless and missing all five of its shots on goal.

Dallas and Edmonton entered the second overtime period deadlocked at 2-2, but a goal from McDavid less than a minute in gave the Oilers a much-needed win while the Stars were sent back to the drawing board.

The Stars bounced back following this loss with two straight wins, giving them a series advantage and the chance to once again take control of the series with a Game 4 win.

Dallas opened Game 4 with a quick 2-0 lead after goals by center Wyatt Johnston and defenseman Esa Lindell just over five minutes into the game; however, the Stars allowed Edmonton to get back into the game, and the teams went into the first intermission tied 2-2.

In the remaining eight periods of the series, the Stars scored just two goals while allowing the Oilers to score eight more.

Dallas will likely look back at that first period in Game 4 as a turning point in the series. Their offense began to stall, and their defense allowed the Oilers to become comfortable.

Power Play Failures

The Stars entered the playoffs as one of the most effective teams on the power play. They finished the regular season with the sixth-best goal percentage in the league during advantages, at 24.2%.

Dallas also finished the year with a penalty-kill percentage of 82%, the eighth-highest number in the league.

Entering the Western Conference Finals against the Oilers, Dallas had scored on 29% of their power play opportunities through 13 playoff games against the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche.

However, they were set to match up against Edmonton, which had success on both sides of the power play during their first two series, scoring 37.5% of their advantages while also killing power plays for opposing teams 91.4% of the time.

The Stars never managed to find their footing on power plays during the series, as they went without a single goal during these advantages despite having 14 opportunities.

Dallas overcame these shortfalls in the first part of the series due to its ability to manage power plays from the Oilers. In the first four games, Dallas held Edmonton to 0-4 on its advantages.

This shutout did not last for long as Edmonton scored four goals on their five power play opportunities in the final two games, which proved to be the difference maker in the series.

Although the Stars boast multiple young players on the roster who are expected to make an impact during the 2024-25 season, this loss was painful for many of the veterans who have now lost in the Western Conference Finals for two straight years.

The Stars will also enter next season without right wing Joe Pavelski, who announced that he will likely retire after an 18-year career in the NHL.

Pavelski said the decision is not official yet, but he has been planning to hang up his skates following this season for a long time, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

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