Vegas Takes Game 1 Over Stars

Left winger Jamie Benn (14) of the Dallas Stars. | Image by Dallas Stars Twitter

Brett Howden’s goal 1:35 into overtime on Friday night allowed the Vegas Golden Knights to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and hand the Dallas Stars their third consecutive overtime loss to open a playoff series.

Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger faced a consistent barrage of shots throughout the game as the Golden Knights used their speed to create odd-man rushes and scoring opportunities. The Stars settled down after a couple of power play chances in the first period and drew first blood as Jason Robertson tipped a seemingly harmless lob from Roope Hintz into the net.

Vegas’ William Karlsson scored the first of his two goals on the night as he gathered a wide shot from Zach Whitecloud and buried the puck into the wide-open net to tie the game. Karlsson gave Vegas its first lead of the game with 18:41 left in the final period when he stole the puck in the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot pasty Oettinger from the slot.

Roope Hintz tied the game for Dallas with his 10th goal of the playoffs, taking the NHL playoff lead in points as he assisted on Robertson’s goal in the first period.

Dallas had to bounce back again after Keegan Kolesar barreled toward the net, and Teddy Blueger converted on the rebound as Stars’ defenders dragged Kolesar into the crease, impeding Oettinger’s path to the puck.

With 2:08 remaining, Dallas pulled Oettinger for a sixth skater, and captain Jamie Benn jammed a rebound under the leg of Vegas goalie Adin Hill to tie the game once again and force overtime.

The Golden Knights converted quickly as Chandler Stephenson gained the offensive zone and passed to Mark Stone, who sent a pass just wide of Howden. Reacting promptly, Howden retrieved the loose puck behind the net and reached back toward the goal, throwing the puck off Oettinger’s back and into the net for the win.

“They were better than us,” Stars Coach Pete DeBoer told the media after the game. “I thought we battled back in the game, [but] they were in more areas better than us for most of the night, so probably the right result, and we’ve got to up our level.”

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