The Golden Knights applied pressure and caught fire late in the third period of Wednesday night’s game against the Dallas Stars in Las Vegas, spoiling the first leg of the three-part face-off for the visitors.
“We just made it way too easy for them to fly at us,” said Stars head coach Rick Bowness postgame. “We have got to get back to play our game tomorrow night.”
Dallas started night chasing a franchise-record eighth straight victory and led through the first 50 minutes of the first game. With 11 minutes to play in the third period, Stars center Joe Pavelski pinched a shot between the top of Las Vegas goalie Robin Lehner’s left shoulder and the bottom of the crossbar for his first goal of the game and the 402nd of his career.
The Stars seemed to be in command of the game, scoring their first three goals of the night on the power play and building a 4-2 lead. Midway through the first period, left-winger, Jason Robertson took a pass from defensemen John Klingberg and scored his ninth goal of the year.
Tyler Seguin added his seventh goal of the year two minutes into the second period to give Dallas a 2-1 lead. Pavelski would bookend his two goals of the night, leading to the 4-2 lead.
The Golden Knights dominated the night where shots on goal are considered, double the Stars output for the game’s duration. Las Vegas stormed on Dallas late in the second period and but Stars goalie Braden Holtby weathered the storm and made one impressive glove save after another to keep the Golden Knights at bay.
However, the tables turned in the third when Golden Knight goals from Michael Amadio and Mark Stone tied the contest at 4-4 before Max Pacioretty’s seventh goal of the season gave Las Vegas the lead for good. Las Vegas outshot Dallas on the night by a 45-23 clip.
Pavelski said the Golden Knights were allowed too much time in the Dallas defensive zone.
“We had with chances we didn’t do good enough job defending,” he said, “sticking your nose in there, taking a hit to make a play at times …the little things that just make it tougher on teams to come within 200 feet and give our defense a break sometimes.”
The loss drops Dallas to a record of 13-8-2, and the Golden Knights advance their record to 15-10-0.
The game took place at T-Mobile Arena, and attendance was almost at capacity for hockey at the facility with 17,843 spectators on hand as the Golden Knights hosted Hispanic Heritage Night in Las Vegas.
The game was the first of three on a west-coast road trip for the Stars, who head to Los Angeles to play the Kings (10-10-4) tonight with the first puck ready to drop at 9:30 p.m. central time.
Pavelski said last night needs to remain in the rearview mirror despite the late heartbreaker of a loss and the finality of the winning streak.
“We’ve had a good stretch winning games, playing a lot of good hockey, so we got to understand that, and you know get back to you know that commitment you know right away tomorrow,” Pavelski said.