Stars sticking with Oettinger in must-win Game 4
The Dallas Stars are one loss away from their season being over, but head coach Peter DeBoer made it clear they'd be sticking with No. 1 netminder Jake Oettinger for Thursday's Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
"Jake Oettinger is playing tomorrow night. So we'll put that to rest," DeBoer told the media Wednesday, according to The Dallas Morning News' Joseph Hoyt.
Oettinger struggled mightily in Game 3. He was pulled after allowing three goals on five shots just 7:10 into the contest in what was the shortest start of his NHL career.
Backup Scott Wedgewood made 10 saves on 11 shots in relief.
Oettinger dazzled during last year's postseason, posting a sterling .954 save percentage and 1.81 goals against average during the Stars' first-round loss to the Calgary Flames, which featured a 64-save outing in Game 7.
It's been a different story for Oettinger this spring. He's started all 16 of the Stars' playoff games and owns an 8-8 record to go along with an .895 save percentage and 3.02 goals against average.
The 24-year-old has allowed 6.97 goals above expected at all strengths, according to Natural Stat Trick, and he's surrendered at least three goals in each start against the Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final.
Despite Oettinger's uncharacteristically shaky performance, the Stars made sure to have their goalie's back after Tuesday's 4-0 loss.
"He's been the backbone all year," forward Tyler Seguin said. "(We have) so much confidence in him. When goals go in, I mean, there's five of us on the ice that could've helped stop it.
"We'll look at the clips, we'll flush it, and get ready for the next game."
Wedgewood, meanwhile, wasn't sure what Oettinger could have done differently on a few of the Golden Knights' opportunities in Game 3.
"They make some elite shots and some elite plays. ... Their first (goal), it's a heads-up play, and that one-timer got back to (Jonathan Marchessault).
"They're scoring that on all 64 (goalies) in this league. Break it down that way, it happens. ... We have to be a little bit more dialed as a group, but I'm not worried about that kid."
Oettinger was one of seven goalies to make over 60 starts during the regular season. He backstopped the Stars with a .919 save percentage while ranking among the top 10 in goals saved above average (23.59) and goals saved above expected (21.65), per Evolving-Hockey.
Puck drops on Dallas' must-win Game 4 Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
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