Well it’s official, Oilers vs Stars, buckle up. There is only one Canadian team remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After a thrilling game 7 victory Monday night against the Vancouver Canucks, the Edmonton Oilers are headed to the Western Conference finals. This is the first time the Oilers will play the Stars in the playoffs since 2003.

In my previous article, I predicted the Oilers would defeat Vancouver in 6. It took them 1 more game, but they got the job done. The Canucks gave the Oilers all they could handle. This was a tight series. 6 out of the 7 games were decided by 1 goal. Before I preview the Western Conference final, I would like to wish Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser a speedy recovery after suffering a blood clotting issue.

Oilers vs Stars Head To Head

The Dallas Stars won the Central Division, and Western Conference with a record of 52-21-9 for 113 points. The Edmonton Oilers are the only non-division winner left in the playoffs. They finished 2nd in the Pacific Division with a record of 49-27-6 for 104 points. The Stars were 2-0-1 against the Oilers in the regular season, outscoring them 12-7. Two of those games were decided by 1 goal.

The Oilers are 8-4 in these playoffs. They defeated the LA Kings in round 1 for the 3rd year in a row, followed by a nail-biting game 7 victory against the Pacific Division champion, Vancouver Canucks.

The Dallas Stars are 8-5 in these playoffs. They have had arguably the toughest road thus far. They went to war against the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights, defeating them in 7 games. Dallas followed that up by beating the previous Stanley Cup champion, Colorado Avalanche in 6 games.

This should be an exciting series, so let’s break it down.


Jake Oettinger had his worst season since breaking into the NHL in 2020-2021. He had a career low .905 save percentage and 2.72 goals against average. However, he completely flipped the switch in the playoffs. He has a .918 save percentage and 2.09 goals against average playing against the defending Stanley Cup champs, and a potent Colorado Avalanche lineup who lit up Connor Hellebuyck in round 1. In 13 playoff games this year, Oettinger has a .920 save percentage or better in 9 of them. Those are impressive numbers.

The Oilers will lean on Stuart Skinner against the Stars. Skinner has been incredibly inconsistent throughout both the regular season and playoffs. Skinner was poor in the first three games against the Canucks, which lead to Chris Knoblauch turning to Calvin Pickard in games 4 and 5, before ultimately going back to Skinner for the rest of the series. Without Pickard’s solid play, the Oilers might not be here right now. The big question is which Stuart Skinner will show up against the Stars? The one who dominated games 3 and 4 against the Kings in round 1? Or the one who struggled against the Canucks early in that series?

Skinner’s inconsistency is a concern, and Oettinger is elite, and extremely consistent. Therefore, Dallas has the clear advantage in net.


The Oilers defense is underrated. They defended really well against the Kings, and held the Canucks to 15 shots in game 6, and 17 shots in game 7. The Canucks had 20+ shots only 3 times in the 7 game series.

The Oilers defense is lead by offensive weapon Evan Bouchard. Bouchard has 20 points in 12 games these playoffs, with an incredible plus 10 rating. He out-performed Norris Trophy finalist, Quinn Hughes last round. However, Bouchard’s defensive game could use some work. He is an excellent puck mover, but is sometimes to nonchalant with the puck in his own zone, which leads to unnecessary turnovers. If he can play with more urgency in his own zone, he can develop into an elite overall defenseman.

The Stars have a solid blueline lead by Miro Heiskanen. At 24 years old, Heiskanen has already 79 playoff games under his belt, with 58 points. The Stars also acquired shot blocking wizard, Chris Tanev at the trade deadline. He has 56 blocked shots so far these playoffs. Against the Avs, Tanev did a great job of neutralizing MacKinnon. In 70 minutes with those two on the ice together at five-on-five, Dallas outscored Colorado 3-1. Tanev will be in a similar situation against either McDavid or Draisaitl, and he should be up to the task. This teams’ biggest weakness is their 3rd D pair of Ryan Suter and Alex Petrovic. The Oilers should look to exploit them.

Overall, this team defends extremely well. In the playoffs, the Stars have been stronger than Edmonton in terms of offensive limitation.  Ultimately, the Stars depth makes them tough to play against. With that said, give the defensive advantage to the Stars.


The Oilers star power up front is well known, and it is largely up to them to get the job done offensively. However, if they want to beat the Stars, their bottom 6 will have to step up in a big way. The Oilers need a lot more from players like Ryan McLeod, and Warren Foegele against Dallas. If the team does not get that secondary support, they will be forced to play their big guns too much, which is not a winning formula.

In the regular season, the Stars were 3rd in goals per game while the Oilers were 4th. Dallas has an extremely deep forward group, and have a great mix of youngsters, and veterans. Their best forward has been 21 year old Wyatt Johnston. He scored a clutch overtime goal in round 1 when the Stars were losing the series 2-0. That goal gave them life and they probably would not be here without his heroics. He has 7 goals in 13 games these playoffs. The Stars also have veterans Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on their 3rd line.

The Stars also have Roope Hintz. He was injured in game 4 against the Avalanche. He missed the rest of the series, but should be back early this round. Hintz is a key piece to this offense, and he makes Dallas even deeper. Dallas has eight 20-goal scorers on their roster. They can put the puck in the net, much like the Oilers. Pete DeBoer has confidence in all four lines to generate offense while excelling defensively. The depth of the Stars has the potential to frustrate the Oilers , which will lead to coach Knoblauch over-playing his star players. If that’s the case, give the Stars the offensive edge.

The X Factor

As usual, the X factor is special teams. In the regular season, Dallas lead the league in fewest penalty minutes per game at 6.8. That is an important stat considering the dominance of the Edmonton powerplay. If the Stars stay out of the box, they have the ability to wear down the Oilers at even strength. From the Oilers perspective, if they get limited powerplay opportunities, they need to capitalize on the ones they get. Special teams will be a difference maker.


Oilers vs Stars should be a high event, high energy series. Dallas is arguably the deepest team remaining in the playoffs. They have the goaltending, a very reliable blueline, and four really good lines. Their forward group will get even better when Roope Hintz returns from injury, potentially as early as game 1. The Oilers top 6 is elite, but their bottom 6 may struggle against the Stars depth.

Therefore, the better team will win this series. The Oilers will put up a fight, but the Stars will ultimately prevail.

Stars in 6.

Make sure to check out my East Final preview, as well as more NHL content as the Conference Finals get underway.