The game-winning overtime goal slips past Adin Hill #33 of the Vegas Golden Knights against the Dallas Stars in Game Four of the Conference Final of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center on May 25, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Taylor Baird / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
May 25, 2023
DALLAS — Joe Pavelski scored a power-play goal at 3:18 of overtime, and the Dallas Stars extended the Western Conference Final with a 3-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 at American Airlines Center on Thursday.
Pavelski won it with a one-timer from the left face-off circle after Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb was penalized for high-sticking at 2:28.
“It’s such a fine line this time of year. You’re going good and all of a sudden you look and you’re in a 3-0 hole,” Pavelski said. “[We had a] couple of overtime losses and played some good hockey along the way. You just have to keep putting your game out there and having the belief that you can buy more time and earn more time.
“So, we’ll see where this goes. We’re excited about tonight and we’ll get some rest. We’ll look to do it again and keep trying to put a little doubt in their minds.”
Game 5 of the best-of-7 series will be in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Jason Robertson scored twice, Roope Hintz and Miro Heiskanen each had two assists, and Jake Oettinger made 37 saves for the Stars, the No. 2 seed from the Central Division.
Oettinger was pulled after giving up three goals on five shots in the first 7:10 of a 4-0 loss in Game 3.
“Great response. Jake’s been that guy all year. I’ve said that,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “Every time our team’s stumbled, every time he’s had a stumble, his response has been exactly like it was tonight. I had no doubt that’s what we were going to get. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet. I think he’s starting to heat up here too.”
William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored, and Adin Hill made 39 saves for the Golden Knights, the top seed from the West.
“We weren’t fast early on. I don’t think we managed pucks well below the goal line,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Now, by the time you get it out, you’re tired. When you’re changing, and you’re not in your structure, they’re coming through [the dangerous areas]. I think there was a little bit of that going on early, where we allowed them through there and they were executing. I just thought today below the goal line our team didn’t execute like they normally do on the breakout.”
The Golden Knights took a 1-0 lead at 4:17 of the first period when Reilly Smith‘s shot from just inside the right circle was tipped in front by Karlsson.
Robertson tied it 1-1 on a power play at 15:42. Heiskanen’s pass to Robertson at the right of the net was tipped up and over Hill’s head, and Robertson batted the puck out of the air and into the open net.
“I think we were playing a lot faster, a lot quicker,” Robertson said. “More predictable, clean on our breakouts, supporting the puck. Holding onto pucks more in the offensive zone, getting some rotations, causing some scrambles, and getting a lot of opportunities.”
Dallas played without captain Jamie Benn, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension for cross-checking Vegas forward Mark Stone in Game 3.
“They played well, I thought, defensively. I thought they were better today,” Marchessault said. “We’re trying to play the right way, but I think their desperation was a little higher than ours. At that time of year, it’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about who wants it more. I thought they wanted it more than us tonight.”
NOTES: Pavelski scored his fourth career overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying Nicklas Backstrom and Patrice Bergeron for the second most among active players behind Patrick Kane and Corey Perry (five each). It was Pavelski’s 73rd playoff goal to pass Alex Ovechkin for the most among active players. … At 38 years, 318 days, Pavelski became the oldest player to score an overtime goal in an elimination game (Chris Kunitz, 37 years, 241 days, Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 7, 2017 Eastern Conference Final). … Robertson had 11 shots on goal. … Stars forward Fredrik Olofsson, playing his first game since April 6, had five shots in 10:04. … Karlsson’s eighth goal tied Marchessault (2018, 2023) and Alex Tuch (2020) for the most in a single playoff year in Golden Knights history. … Karlsson scored his sixth game-opening playoff goal, passing Marchessault and Shea Theodore for most in Vegas history.