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Tony Gutierrez / AP

Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson (21) is congratulated for his goal against the Vegas Golden Knights, as Golden Knights’ Zach Whitecloud (2) and Teddy Blueger (53) skate nearby during the second period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Western Conference finals Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Dallas.

Updated 1 hour, 6 minutes ago

DALLAS — The Clarence S. Campbell Bowl will be getting on a plane to Las Vegas, but not yet in the possession of the Golden Knights.

The Western Conference Final will see a fifth game.

The Dallas Stars staved off elimination thanks to Joe Pavelski’s game-winning overtime goal 3:18 into the extra frame, and the Golden Knights lost 3-2 in Game 4 at American Airlines Center on Thursday.

Vegas missed out on its first chance to close the series. Opportunity No. 2 will come Saturday at T-Mobile Arena (5 p.m., ESPN)

The series reached overtime for the third time in four games. The Golden Knights won Games 1 and 2 each less than two minutes into the fourth period. This time, Pavelski’s first goal of the series allowed the Stars to live another day, despite being down captain Jamie Benn (suspension) and forward Evgenii Dadonov (lower-body injury).

“Give them credit,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They did what they had to do.”

Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson scored, and Adin Hill made 39 saves for his first loss in six starts in the Golden Knights’ first defeat since Game 4 of the second round against Edmonton on May 10.

The fourth win is always the most difficult in a series. Those celebrating in the streets of Sunrise, Fla., right now would tend to disagree after the eighth-seeded Florida Panthers completed a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday.

But with the Golden Knights trying to close it out on the road, they knew Dallas’ best game was coming after getting shut out 4-0 in Game 3 here on Tuesday. Vegas even scored first for the second consecutive game — the first time all postseason that’s happened — when Karlsson scored 4:17 into the game for a 1-0 lead.

Even without Benn and Dadonov, the Stars found something that worked, especially on the rush. Dallas dominated in scoring chances (27-16) and high-danger chances (12-8) through two periods.

“There was a lot of rush chances,” forward Reilly Smith said. “I don’t think we did a good enough job making it difficult on them.”

Giving the Stars power plays aided in that process. Brayden McNabb committed both Vegas penalties in the game, and both led to power-play goals. Jason Robertson scored his first of two at 15:42 of the first period to tie it 1-1.

After Marchessault scored his sixth goal in five games to restore the Vegas lead at 2-1, Robertson scored his fourth of the series at 17:21 to tie it 2-2.

While Hill had another night where he looked unbeatable, Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger returned to form with his best performance of the series. Oettinger made 37 saves less than two days after allowing three goals in 7:10 before being pulled.

Both goalies were great, but the playoffs are only remembered for the last goal given up. McNabb was called for his second high-sticking penalty at 2:28 of overtime, and Pavelski’s one-timer from the left circle beat Hill 50 seconds later.

“He’s been so good for us, it’s not fair to let him down in a situation like that,” said Marchessault about Hill, who is the third goalie in team history to win five straight starts (Marc-Andre Fleury, Laurent Brossoit).

The onus certainly won’t go on Hill, especially for making 10-bell saves to keep the Golden Knights in it until the end. That included a breakaway stop on Fredrik Olofsson late in regulation.

Marchessault said the effort level in this close-out game wasn’t good enough against a desperate team. He credited the Stars’ forecheck for giving the Golden Knights fits, which led to rough breakouts from the defensive zone.

“Closing a series, it’s probably the hardest game of the series,” Marchessault said. “Not good enough.”

Considering the Golden Knights escaped with two wins at home that needed overtime, getting a split in Dallas was an equally positive scenario, even up 3-0 in the series. While there is understandable disappointment from Marchessault and Smith to not close it out, the Golden Knights get a chance to finish things on home ice.

The Stanley Cup Final will begin Wednesday if the Golden Knights win Game 5. If not, regardless of outcome, the final begins June 3.

First thing’s first: The Golden Knights want to get to that point first.

“We’re trying to play the right way, but the desperation was a little higher than ours,” Marchessault said. “This time of the year, it’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s about who wants it more. I thought they wanted it more than we did.”

Danny Webster can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Danny on Twitter at

Article written by #LasVegasSun