By Kirk Kern
For the second straight game to start the Western Conference Finals series, the Golden Knights and Dallas Stars went into overtime.
For the second straight game, the Knights came home with a win as Chandler Stephenson took a rebound off a Jake Oettinger deflection and sent it into the back of the net as the Knights won, 3-2.
The win gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 series advantage as the series moves to Dallas.
The game-winning goal came only 1:12 into the overtime period and came after Vegas goalie Adin Hill made a big save on a shot by Wyatt Johnson that would have won the game for Dallas seconds earlier.
Stephenson’s goal was the second for the Knights in less than four minutes of game action as the Stars were on the verge of taking the series back to Dallas at 1-1 instead of 0-2.
“We don’t rely on two or three players or the goaltender standing on his head,” said Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy. “We need a timely save, we certainly got that in overtime. Timely goals. (Jonathan) Marchessault gets a big one for us. It gives us a chance. Certainly guys need to be the drivers, but they don’t need to be the drivers all the time. Different guys can get us going and we saw that tonight.”
The outcome looked bleak for the Golden Knight as the Stars held a 2-1 lead entering into the final two minutes of the game. But Marchessault took a backhand pass from behind the net from Jack Eichel and beat Oettinger to tie the game.
The goal came with 2;22 left in the third period and was assisted by Eichel and Ivan Barbashev.
The Stars took advantage of a power play when Jason Robertson slap shot alluded Vegas goalie Hill to give Dallas a 2-1 lead. The goal came at 9:21 and was assisted by Evgenii Dadonov and Ryan Super.
The power play was assessed on Marchessault for tripping Miro Heiskanan at 7:47.
The Stars earned another power play opportunity with 1:01 left in the quarter on a cross-checking penalty by Stephenson against Colin Miller. The Knights killed off the first portion of the penalty to end the period.
The first period ended in a 1-1 tie. Dallas got the scoring started with a flukey goal on a wrist shot by Heiskanen. His shot was deflected into the air and bounced into the net.
The goal came at 2:47 and was assisted by Luke Glendening and Ryan Super.
The Golden Knights tied the score a 1-1 by converting on the first power play of the game, a 5-on-3 advantage capped by Mark Stone’s wrist shot in front of the net. The goal came at 10:08 in the period and was assisted by Stephenson and Marchessault.
The power play came on consecutive penalties by Joel Hanley for interference against Barbashev and Thomas Harley for tripping against Eichel at the 9:31 mark in the period.
I like our depth as a team in general,” Stone said. “The way we we play not only as a line but as a team, somebody will have a pretty good matchup. The guys have stepped up at different times.”
At 13:41, Stephenson was called for slashing against Roope Hintz, but the Knights killed the penalty with little threat.
The two teams will next play on Tuesday and Thursday in Dallas.