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Oilers' Nurse quiets doubters with 'best game' vs. Stars, 'maybe playoffs'


Darnell Nurse didn't have much to say before Wednesday night's game against the Dallas Stars.

The Edmonton Oilers defencemen kept his answers to media short following the morning skate.

Was he upset about the flak he was receiving — in reports or on social media — criticizing his play the previous game and over the playoffs?


Did he deliver a message he was focused on Game 4?


And although he was front-and-centre for the Stars' two quick goals to start it, he was also at the epicentre of the Oilers' breakneck about-face in the middle of the first period and throughout the rest of their eventual 5-2 win.

Nurse ended the game with 12 hits, three blocked shots and an assist on the Oilers' first goal as the catalyst that ignited the spark that saw Edmonton control the rest of the game.

Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said after it while the 29-year-old veteran was the blueliner of record on the Stars' two-on-one goal by Wyatt Johnston to open the scoring 58 seconds into the game followed four-and-a-half minutes later by Esa Lindell's marker off the defender's backside "could've really set him back" but didn't.

"That would have been really hard for a lot of guys to recover after everything that's been going on, but personally I thought it was his best game in the series, maybe in the playoffs," Knoblauch told media following the game, adding the six-foot-four, 215 lb. Nurse showed his best attributes — "his speed, his reach and finishing plays because of his strength" — all game.

"Those three attributes are what really sets him apart from other defencemen ... It was nice to see him joining the rush a little bit. There's one that bounced over a stick he had a good scoring chance, a lot of blocked shots, which he's always had, but it was a very, very good game from him."

Oilers star Leon Draisaitl said while Nurse "absolutely" set the tone for the team in Game 4, "that's what he does a lot of nights."

"A lot of the things that he does go unnoticed," Draisaitl said after the game.

"He plays extremely hard. Maybe his confidence hasn't been where we've all seen it be, but those things happen. That's normal. He's a human being and tonight was a great step for him. I thought he was outstanding." Top Stories

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