Stars' Top Line Delivers, Forces Game 5 with 3-2 Overtime Win
Jason Robertson scored two game-tying goals, with Joe Pavelski netting the game-winner to stave off elimination.
All season long, overtime has been a problem for the Dallas Stars.
At first, the excuse was that it was 3-on-3 or the shootout, and that it wouldn't translate into the postseason. But then the Stars dropped three Game 1 overtimes in a row, followed by another overtime loss in Game 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Down 3-0 in the series, in a game where they never held the lead, the Stars once again headed to overtime.
Only this time, they delivered.
Joe Pavelski saved the Stars season with his game-winner, sending the team back to Vegas for Game 5. It was the Stars' second power play goal of the night on as many opportunities, the first coming courtesy of Jason Robertson in the first period. That one was a game-tying goal, and he repeated the effort, this time at even strength, in the second period with another goal.
That the Stars didn't run away with the game after a dominant second period was thanks only to Adin Hill, who put together the best game of his career by stopping 39 of 42 shots. That the Golden Knights didn't run awaya with the game after a dominant third period was thanks only to Jake Oettinger, who put together an equally impressive performance and stopped 37 of 39 shots.
A series comeback is still a pipe dream, as the Stars now take the road again with captain Jamie Benn still suspended for one more game. But with exception of Game 3, this has been a tight series, with three games decided in overtime. If Dallas can keep this moentum going and steal Game 5...
..well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Game 5 is on Saturday at 7 PM Central on ABC.
Vegas began to dictate play early on in the offensive zone as they have all series. Sure enough, they would open up the scoring, courtesy on a rush attempt that resulted in a William Karlsson deflection that Jake Oettinger had no chance of stopping.
The Stars' first shot on net didn't come until nearly seven minutes into the game, followed by a Grade A scoring chance by Miro Heiskanen that Adin Hill was able to get his blocker on. That seemed to breathe at least a little life back into Dallas, as they slowly began to even things back up on offense.
Heiskanen had another high-danger scoring chance about twelve minutes in, which again Hill was able to knock away. A few minutes later, Mark Stone had his own chance right in front of Oettinger, who was able to get his glove up and prevent a multi-goal deficit.
After the third commercial break, the two top lines lined up in the Stars' zone. Although they lost the faceoff, Dallas was able to quickly gain possession and enter the offensive zone, getting a nice look from Joe Pavelski. While down there, they quickly drew a high-sticking penalty by Brayden McNabb to put them on the first power play of the evening.
The Stars were slow going on getting set up, including a rare turnover by Heiskanen in their own zone, but soon they were able to cycle the puck around, focused on the point. Heiskanen took a shot and Jason Robertson got the tip, but Adin hill was there to stop it and send the puck up into the air. And then, in a feat of dazzling hand eye coordination, Robertson knocked the airborne puck backwards before hitting it airborne again, sending it in to tie the game.
The fourth line was able to crowd the net shortly afterwards, but failed to sneak the puck past Hill. Both teams traded some odd-man rushes that didn't go anywhere, and the first period ended with a tie game.
Score: Dallas 1, Vegas 1
Shots: Dallas 11, Vegas 13
Dallas started off strong, with the top line dominating possession in their first shift. The fourth line got a nice chance a minute or two later, and Dallas was ultimately 6-0 in shot attempts across the first three minutes and a half as Vegas appeared to be completely overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, six minutes in, Ty Dellandrea took a careless slashing penalty in the offensive zone, giving Vegas their own power play. The Golden Knights finally got their first shot attempts of the period, but none made it to the net as Dalllas successfully killed the penalty.
Vegas got their first high danger scoring chance about halfway through the game, when Jack Eichel earned a breakaway opportunity. Rather than try and wrist it past Oettinger, Eichel tried to take it close and deke it past him for the backhand. But Oettinger was able to stop Eichel's sneaky attempt, as well as the attempt to send it back to the net.
Unfortunately, only a minute later, the Golden Knights were able to reclaim their lead after all. Behind the net, Eichel sent the puck back to McNabb, who was able to send the puck between the legs of Ryan Suter, facing the other way, and onto the stick of Jonathan Marchessault, who quickly flicked the puck into the wide open net.
A minute or so later, the Stars' third line got a nice rush attempt that only ended with McNabb and Luke Glendening slamming into Hill and the Golden Knights' net. The top line got some extended zone time in the ensuing faceoff, including a great scoring chance from Robertson, but Hill was able to steal it with his glove.
The Stars continued to hound Hill throughout the rest of the second period, but the Golden Knights' netminder stood tall. Jack Eichel had another chance off the rush with a 2-1 opportunity, but Oettinger stonewalled the center again. The Stars answered back with more. And more. And more shots on Hill, until Robertson finally broke through again after a bounce off the endboards.
Robertson sent another shot towards the net with about a minute to go, but Pavelski wasn't able to get the tip and it hit Hill dead on. Once again, we'd head into the intermission with a tied game.
Score: Dallas 2, Vegas 2
Shots: Dallas 30, Vegas 23
In what already felt like overtime, both teams came out strong to start the third. Ty Dellandrea had a tremendous chance off the rush and tried to go five-hole, but Hill was able to stop yet another one as the Stars' shots on net eclipsed their entire Game 3 total. Karlsson soon got his own rush attempt, but Oettinger was able to knock it up and out of play.
As the third period continued, Vegas began to dominate play with several extended looks in the offensive zone. But Oettinger and the Stars' defense stood strong time and time again – even Robertson made a strong defensive play to stop an opposing rush.
With four minutes to go, Vegas had a 23-8 edge in shot attempts for the period. The best chance of the period came two minutes later, when Fredrik Olofsson managed got a breakway and, like Eichel earlier in the game, tried to outdeke Hill for the a potential game winner. But, as he had been doing all game, Hill stopped the puck and kept the game tied.
For the third time this series, we'd be heading to overtime.
Score: Dallas 3, Vegas 2
Shots: Dallas 38, Vegas 37
Dallas got some nice looks to start the overtime period, including a possible backhander that might have gone in if it was anyone but Esa Lindell. Shortly afterwards, McNabb committed a high-sticking penalty on Ty Dellandrea that originally went uncalled. The referees convened, and Dallas would get a rare overtime power play.
Like before, it took Dallas awhile to get set up. And like before, Dallas executed, with Joe Pavelski scoring the game-winner.
Score: Dallas 3, Vegas 2
Shots: Dallas 42, Vegas 39