Jake Oettinger has been the backbone of the Dallas Stars all season, but he's struggled mightily in the Western Conference Final, conceding 6.97 goals above expected against the Vegas Golden Knights as his team stands on the brink of elimination heading into Game 4.

Still, Stars coach Peter DeBoer made it clear that they'll go back to their No. 1 goaltender on Thursday night, despite him being pulled after allowing three goals on five shots in Game 3.

“Jake Oettinger is playing tomorrow night. So we'll put that to rest,” DeBoer told reporters on Wednesday, according to The Dallas Morning News' Joseph Hoyt.

Oettinger was pulled just 7:10 into Tuesday night's contest, the shortest start of his NHL career. Backup Scott Wedgewood made 10 saves on 11 shots in relief of the young American.

It's been a puzzling change compared to last postseason, when the 24-year-old posted a sparkling .954 save percentage and 1.81 goals against average in the team's first-round loss to the Calgary Flames. He headlined it with a 64-save outing in Game 7.

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Despite his struggles, his team still has his back heading into the team's second potential elimination game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“He's been the backbone all year,” forward Tyler Seguin said in defense of his goalie. “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.”

“They make some elite shots and some elite plays,” said Wedgewood afterwards. “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 dialled as a group, but I'm not worried about that kid.”

Sporting an 8-8 record with an .895 save percentage and 3.02 goals against average, Jake Oettinger is one of many Stars players who simply need to be better if the team hopes to take the series back to Las Vegas for Game 5.

Puck drops between the Stars and Golden Knights at American Airlines Center just past 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night.