Golden Knights rally in 3-2 OT thriller against Stars to take 2-0 series lead
The Vegas Golden Knights pulled off yet another comeback victory – their eighth of the postseason – when they scored two goals in the span of 3:34 to take Game 2 Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.
Jonathan Marchessault scored the equalizer with 2:22 remaining in regulation off a terrific feed from Jack Eichel, and Chandler Stephenson won it just 72 seconds into overtime to give Vegas a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Adin Hill stopped 26 of 28 shots for a .929 save percentage; his biggest save of the game came early in extra time, but he made timely saves throughout to keep Vegas within one. Jake Oettinger finished the contest with 21 saves on 24 shots (.875 save percentage).
For the second game in a row, it was all Vegas in the opening minutes of the first period.
But for the second game in a row, Dallas struck first.
It was a tough break for Hill and the Golden Knights, as Miro Heiskanen's point shot deflected off Shea Theodore's stick in front before going over Hill and into the net.
It was the seventh time in the last eight games that Vegas surrendered the first goal.
But two Dallas penalties on the same shift led to a full two-minute 5-on-3 for the Golden Knights, and Mark Stone took full advantage.
It was a bit of a broken play, as Stephenson's cross-crease pass attempt hit Esa Lindell's skate before coming to Stone in front. The captain pounced on the loose puck and put it under Oettinger to get Vegas on the board at 10:08.
Dallas got a power play when Stephenson took an undisciplined slashing penalty in the neutral zone; it was his second slashing penalty in two games, but the Vegas penalty kill was stifling once again, holding the Stars to two scoring chances and zero shots.
The Stars led 18-12 in shot attempts (16-10 at 5-on-5) and 9-5 in shots while coming away with a 64.29 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5. The Stars had the better period, but the two clubs took a 1-1 tie into the first intermission.
It was a choppy start to the middle frame, as both teams had strong gap control and limited chances both ways. The Golden Knights were having trouble coming out of their zone and struggled against Dallas' improved forecheck.
When the Golden Knights finally did get some speed through the neutral zone, Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev were unable to get a shot off on a promising chance on the rush. Marchessault followed it up by taking a retaliatory penalty in the offensive zone, giving Dallas its second power play of the game.
Vegas was fortunate when Joe Pavelski had a wide-open net but fanned on the shot. However, the Stars wouldn't be denied for long.
Much like Vegas' first-period tally, Dallas benefited from a fortunate bounce after the puck hit a Golden Knights defender and landed in front of one of the Stars' best players. It was Jason Robertson, scoring for the second game in a row, who gave the Stars their first power-play goal of the series and first power-play goal against Vegas this season. It marked the first time Robertson scored in consecutive games since early April.
The Golden Knights came back with two excellent chances, including one between Eichel and Barbashev and another for William Carrier in front, but Oettinger shut both down. Eichel made another fantastic play to get the puck to Marchessault in front, but Oettinger had the answer once again.
Hill made an underrated save late in the period on a Pavelski deflection attempt in front to keep the deficit to one.
But Stephenson took another completely unnecessary penalty late in the second period; it was Vegas' second retaliation penalty of the frame and Stephenson's third minor in five periods in the series, as he boarded Colin Miller with 59 seconds on the clock.
It was the Golden Knights who had the best chance, though, as Nicolas Roy found himself all alone in the slot; however, he missed the net just before the buzzer sounded.
Despite generating a number of quality chances (five of which were of the high-danger variety, according to Natural Stat Trick), the Golden Knights recorded just five shots for the second period in a row, giving them a total of 10 through 40 minutes.
It was a low-event game through two periods, with both teams breaking up chances and limiting turnovers; the Stars outshot Vegas 9-5 in the first and 8-5 in the second, and both teams scored on their only shot on the power play.
But it was the lowest shot total through two periods for Vegas in the playoffs, and the only line that generated positive possession numbers through 40 minutes was the fourth line, with a 6-3 edge in Corsi and an 81.81 percent expected goal share.
The Golden Knights failed to get pucks to the net and failed to bury their chances.
Vegas killed off the rest of the Stephenson boarding penalty at the start of the third, but it was more of the same from the Stars in the first half of the period, as Dallas recorded the first four shots of the frame and continued to clog the neutral zone.
The Golden Knights managed just three shots through the first 10 minutes, giving them 13 total in 50 minutes of play.
Pete DeBoer's shot suppression system was in full effect, but Eichel willed the Golden Knights to break through.
Their first good look of the third came courtesy of Roy on a one-timer from the slot, but Oettinger gobbled it up with no rebound.
Marchessault had a clean look with 8:40 to go, but Oettinger got over to make the save on Vegas' 16th shot of the game.
Eichel was the best Golden Knight on the ice in the third and had several impressive individual efforts to try to make something happen, injecting speed and energy into Vegas' one-dimensional game.
He danced through several Stars skaters in the neutral zone, broke in and fired a shot on Oettinger that popped up and created a light scramble in front. Oettinger kept it out of the net, but Eichel wasn't deterred.
His stellar play continued, and eventually it paid off, as Vegas' top line scored for the first time in the series.
Eichel dumped the puck in on Oettinger and went in the forecheck. Vegas took advantage of one of Dallas' few turnovers of the game, as Ryan Suter casually sent the puck around the boards to Barbashev. Barbashev found Eichel, who sent a gorgeous between-the-legs, no-look pass to Marchessault from behind the net. Marchessault made no mistake, burying it top-shelf to tie the game with 2:22 remaining.
Marchessault earned some redemption after taking the penalty that led to Dallas' go-ahead power-play goal in the second period. His equalizer, set up by a perfect pass from Eichel, forced overtime for the second game in a row.
The Golden Knights needed just 95 seconds of extra time to win Game 1.
In Game 2, they did it in 72.
This time, Stephenson was the overtime hero, potting the game-winner off the rebound at 1:12 of overtime to give Vegas the 3-2 victory.
Stone skated in and fed the puck across the zone to Theodore, who fired the puck towards the net; Stephenson went hard to the net and cashed in on the rebound to give Vegas a 2-0 series lead.
It was a strong play by Theodore, who has been noticeably ineffective throughout the playoffs. Also, Brett Howden drove to the net and tied up his defender, which left Stephenson open for the rebound.
But the Stars came close to ending it in the first 30 seconds of extra time.
Wyatt Johnston had an excellent chance alone in front, but Hill came up with a monster save to keep Vegas in it.
Less than a minute later, Stephenson called game.
He and Marchessault scored two goals in 3:34 to steal Game 2.
The Golden Knights were outplayed in Game 2.
However, as they have done all year, they found a way to win.
Three star players scored for the Golden Knights, and a fourth – Eichel – led the charge in the third-period comeback.
After taking a combined three undisciplined penalties earlier in the game, Marchessault and Stephenson flipped the script and won it for Vegas, scoring their sixth and seven goals of the playoffs, respectively. They, along with Stone, finished the contest with a goal and an assist each.
Dallas was stronger on the forecheck, controlled the neutral zone for most of the game and prevented Vegas from getting to the middle of the ice.
But Hill made timely saves, and the Golden Knights rallied in the second half of the third period.
Vegas led 26-17 in shot attempts and 12-11 in shots in the third.
It was far from a perfect effort, but despite getting outplayed for 50 minutes and generating very few shots in that time, it was still a one-goal game thanks to Hill. The two goals he gave up came on a deflection in front that popped over his head and off a bad bounce after the puck hit Brayden McNabb and fell to Robertson.
Hill is now 5-1 in the postseason and has won four consecutive games.
The Golden Knights did what they had to do on home ice; the series now shifts to Dallas.
"There's so much more work to do," Marchessault said after the game. "I don't want to think too far ahead. ... Right now my head is in Game 3 in Dallas."
Game 3 is set for Tuesday night.