Golden Knights Gameday
HOWDEN OT WINNER! Golden Knights Beat Dallas 4-3 in Game 1
The Vegas Golden Knights have struggled with the first goal. Only once in Round Two did they notch the opening tally, and that negative trend continued Friday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars. Despite firing 11 of the first 12 shots, the Golden Knights failed to light the lamp before Dallas sniper Jason Robertson scored his first even-strength goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs late in the first period.
After a tight game on the scoreboard, but Golden Knights puck and territorial domination, Teddy Blueger (1) scored his second career playoff goal midway through the third period after Keegan Kolesar was shoved into Oettinger, creating a pileup in the crease. The goal looked like enough for the game-winner, but with Oettinger pulled, Dallas captain Jamie Benn scored with less than two minutes remaining to tie the game 3-3.
Brett Howden followed the Chandler Stephenson rush 90 seconds into overtime. His first shot missed, but from beneath the goal line, Howden chipped it off Oettinger for the winner. The Golden Knights won 4-3 at T-Mobile Arena Friday.
William Karlsson scored two goals to provide offensive support from the bottom six and the Golden Knights had a lot to like, except a lost lead.
“There were better in more areas than us. It was probably the right result,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said.
Hil could not withstand the intense Dallas push in the waning minutes of the third period as Jamie Benn (3) jammed a loose puck past the goalie. Oettinger stopped 33 of 36 shots in regulation, but didn’t stop No. 37. Hill made 33 saves on 36 shots. It was Hill’s fourth win in five playoff starts.
The game was mostly in the Vegas Golden Knights’ favor.
The Golden Knights dominated the first period at even strength and even snuffed out a pair of Dallas power plays, denying the visitors zone entry for the final minute-plus of the second power play.
The Golden Knights even dominated the second period, significantly outchancing Dallas. Yet midway through the third period, the game was tied 2-2.
Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger was the early difference. He made several difficult saves, including a snap glove save on Jack Eichel’s breakaway. The Golden Knights kept Dallas away from goalie Adin Hill in the first period, except for a brief rush with just over one minute remaining in the period. Robertson (3) tipped a perfectly placed pass from top center Roope Hintz.
The Golden Knights were the last penalized team during the regular season but again took a pair of first-period penalties with needless stick fouls.
It took the VGK about 30 minutes of pressure before they finally cracked Oettinger. Defenseman Zach Whitecloud zipped a shot well wide, but it caromed off the backboards to the other side of the net. A charging William Karlsson (6) quickly buried the shot before Oettinger could react to the opposite post.
Karlsson scored again early in the third period. After a Dallas d-zone turnover, Karlsson avoided one defender and ripped a wrister from the slot through Oettinger’s five-hole. The marker gave the Golden Knights a temporary lead.
About three minutes later, a defensive breakdown freed Dallas center Roope Hintz (10) on the left wing. Giving Hintz time and space is usually a bad idea, and the center zipped a wrist shot over Hill’s shoulder to again square the game.
Hill and Oettinger traded dazzling saves in the second period. Oettinger rejected Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault’s rebound chances. Hill stopped defenseman Ryan Suter’s breakaway chance later in the second.
Oettinger was again tested often in the third period before Bleuger cracked him.
Dallas third-line center Wyatt Johnson left all skaters with six shots on goal in regulation, including a glorious power play chance at the post, but Hill stopped all six.