NHL playoffs: Jake Oettinger giving Stars an edge in goalie-deficient Western Conference

In just his third NHL season Jake Oettinger has established himself as a superlative playoff performer.

Jake Oettinger has been a standout for the Stars in the NHL playoffs for a second year in a row. (USA Today)

Entering Game 5 of their series with the Minnesota Wild, the Dallas Stars were in the midst of the tightest battle in the NHL playoffs.

Both squads had split at home and on the road and each had 13 goals. The team's shot totals were also nearly identical with Minnesota managing a single attempt on net more than Dallas.

In the critical battle for a 3-2 lead on Tuesday, both teams were desperately looking for an edge. The Stars found one in the form of an outstanding Jake Oettinger performance.

The 24-year-old made 27 stops in the win, and outside of a rough Game 3 he's been nothing short of outstanding for Dallas.

Although Oettinger's career is just getting started, he's beginning to earn a reputation as a phenomenal playoff performer.

Over the last two postseasons his .944 save percentage tops goaltenders with at least 10 games played and he's one of just two backstops with multiple shutouts.

Last season, the former Boston University standout dragged the Stars to the seventh game of a series with a Calgary Flames team that outshot them 287-195. He did everything humanly possible to put his team over the top, but it wasn't meant to be.

This time around he's likely to have more luck serving a scale-tipper in a series where the Stars are not overmatched.

If Dallas can escape the first round, Oettinger is likely to give the team an advantage between the pipes against any opponent they'll see. Strong goaltending has been hard to find in these playoffs as the average netminder not name Oettinger has managed a .902 save percentage.

Looking at the other goalies the Western Conference has to offer, each comes with question marks:

Having superior goaltending is no guarantee of postseason success, but it's a pretty good place to start.

The Stars can feel awfully confident in what they've got in Oettinger — and thanks to his latest clutch performance, they're in an excellent position to ride him deep into the playoffs.