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Five things to know about the NHL playoffs

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) competes for the puck agains Dallas Stars defenseman Chris Tanev (3) during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) competes for the puck agains Dallas Stars defenseman Chris Tanev (3) during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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The Florida Panthers got close but fell short of going up 2-0 in their series on Friday, something the Edmonton Oilers look to do Saturday night.

Here are five things to know heading into Saturday’s post-season action:

2-0?

Edmonton has the chance to grab a 2-0 series lead when it visits Dallas on Saturday night. 

The Oilers defeated the Stars 3-2 in double overtime on Thursday to take the early edge in their best-of-seven Western Conference final series. 

However, Dallas hasn't been great on home ice this post-season, only winning three of its eight games at American Airlines Center. On the other hand, the Stars have won five of six on the road.

It may serve as an added incentive for Edmonton to make good on its time in Dallas by taking a 2-0 series lead before looking to defend home ice in Games 3 and 4.

DEFENCE

While the Oilers have long been known for their offensive firepower and their prowess on the power play, they've really shown up defensively.

Edmonton is averaging 2.69 goals against in the post-season, while its penalty kill has neutralized 19 straight infractions to the tune of a playoff-leading 92.5 per cent.

It's not to say the Oilers haven't been the same offensively, however. 

Edmonton has scored 49 times -- six ahead of Florida and Colorado -- to lead the playoffs and owns a power play clicking at a blistering 36.7 per cent.

POSSIBLE RETURN?

Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said Adam Henrique (ankle injury) is close to a return. 

The veteran centre hasn't played since Edmonton closed out the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the opening round.

However, Knoblauch didn't commit to the automatic inclusion of Henrique in the lineup, even though the Oilers had won three straight games dating back to the second round against Vancouver. 

RESPONSE

The New York Rangers came out and provided the necessary response to avoid an early hole in the Eastern Conference final.

Barclay Goodrow scored the game-winning goal 14:01 into overtime to lift New York to a 2-1 victory and even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

The Rangers fell 3-0 in the series opener on home ice and now have to focus on earning a split in the Sunshine State, where Games 3 and 4 will take place on Sunday and Tuesday.

HOME VS AWAY

Florida fell short of putting the pressure on New York to scramble on the road.

Now heading home for Games 3 and 4, the Panthers have quite the test in front of them. 

Florida has won four of its six home games this post-season, while New York has gone 4-1-0 on the road in the playoffs.

With the series tied at 1-1, the question becomes if the Panthers will be the ones under further pressure because of the Rangers' strong road play.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2024.

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