Stars Fall in 0-2 Hole With Game 2 Loss

Dallas Stars Jake Oettinger Game 2 Playoffs vs Vegas Golden Knights
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 24: Goaltender Jake Oettinger #29 of the Dallas Stars stops a shot from Shea Theodore #27 of the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of Game Two of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center on April 24, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. | Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars find themselves in an 0-2 hole after a 3-1 home loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the NHL Playoffs on Wednesday night.

Dallas got off to the quicker start it was looking for after early penalties and power-play goals put it in an early deficit in Game 1 as both goalies battled to keep the game close in a much more physical affair.

The power play and penalty kill were once again vital factors in Wednesday’s game. The Stars scored the game’s first goal on Wednesday as Jason Robertson took a pass from defenseman Miro Heiskanen near the blue line, walked the puck toward the net, and fired a wrist shot past Vegas’ Logan Thompson for a power-play goal.

It was Robertson’s second goal in as many games. Still, Vegas answered as Jack Eichel took a stretch pass past the Dallas defense and put a move on goalie Jake Oettinger that pulled him out of the crease, opening up the crease and the net for Jonathan Marchessault to tie the game with his second goal of the series.

Dallas did well preventing Vegas from getting quality scoring chances for most of the game, but Oettinger had to make some huge saves to keep the Stars in the game as it wore on — including a sequence in the second period during which he sprawled out and stopped Shea Theodore on three shots in a row.

The goalies continued to duel throughout the game as goals proved to be few and far between. Dallas forward Wyatt Johnston created a great scoring chance by flying off the bench and walling off the defense to get to the crease, but Thompson stretched out and got a skate on the puck to keep the game tied.

That eventually led to Vegas defenseman Noah Hanifin sending a bouncing puck through traffic and past Oettinger for what would end up being the game-winning goal with just over a minute left in the second period.

Dallas continued to make mistakes that led to Vegas scoring chances late in the game, but Oettinger’s effort was enough to give the Stars a chance to tie the game. They pulled the goalie with 1:51 left, but Eichel found the empty net to seal the game for Vegas with 33.8 seconds on the clock.

Dallas also lost forwards Radek Faksa and Mason Marchment to injury, and the team did not provide any updates on the players.

The Stars now trail Vegas 2-0 in a playoff series for the second year in a row and will have to win one of the next two games to guarantee another home game this season.

“We’ve got a lot of veterans in this room, and they’ve been around for a long time,” Stars forward Jason Robertson told the media postgame. “We’ve been a good road team this year. It’s going to be a grind, but everyone in here is going to be confident and ready to go.”

“You can’t just dwell on the negative at this point,” head coach Pete DeBoer added. “I think you’ve got to look and go, ‘OK, we’ve been the best road team in the league all year. Now, we’ve got to go in there and win some road games.'”

Game 3 is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in Vegas.

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