AP Photo/John Locher
Friday, May 19, 2023 | 8:34 p.m.
Brett Howden scored 1:35 into overtime, and the Golden Knights defeated the Dallas Stars 4-3 in Game 1 of the Western Confernece Final at T-Mobile Arena on Friday.
Howden grabbed the loose puck behind the net and banked it off Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger for the winner.
Dallas captain Jamie Benn tied it 3-3 with 1:59 left when the Stars had an extra attacker after sending goalie Jake Oettinger to the bench.
William Karlsson scored twice, and Teddy Blueger scored his first goal of the playoffs for the Golden Knights, who take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Adin Hill made 33 saves for his fourth win in his last five appearances.
Game 2 is here Sunday (Noon, ABC).
While the score may look a close game on paper, possession and chances were heavily in favor of the home team.
The Golden Knights had an 11-1 edge in shots in the first half of the first period. Vegas had multiple odd-man rushes and a breakaway chance from Jack Eichel that were turned away by the 24-year-old Oettinger.
The dominant first period from the Golden Knights was for nothing when Jason Robertson scored just his third goal of the playoffs with 1:16 left for a 1-0 Dallas lead. Alex Pietrangelo’s clearing attempt bounced off the top right-corner door and stayed in the Dallas zone.
The 46-goal scorer Robertson deflected Roope Hintz’s shot to end a promising start for Hill. Meanwhile, Oettinger turned away all 16 shots he saw in the first 20 minutes.
But the Golden Knights were the better team despite not getting on the board. They controlled play with lengthy possession time in the offensive zone and shutting down the middle of the ice.
They kept that pressure consistent in the second period and eventually were rewarded when Karlsson scored his first goal at 9:17 to tie it 1-1, finishing a rebound off a point shot from Zach Whitecloud.
Karlsson, who scored the empty-net clincher in Game 6 against Edmonton, scored his second at 1:19 of the third to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.
Roope Hintz tied it again at 4:01 with his 10th goal of the playoffs and league-best 21st point. But Blueger responded with his first goal of the playoffs at 9:20 after Keegan Kolesar drove to the net and was crashed into three Dallas skaters, and Oettinger, leaving an open net for Blueger to finish.
Check back later for more coverage on the thrilling Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.
Danny Webster can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Danny on Twitter at twitter.com/DannyWebster21.