Pavelski raises stars on Golden Knights in OT to avoid sweep

Joe Pavelski admits he probably enjoys big playoff goals more the further he gets in his career. But they still feel great, and his latest has kept the season alive for the Dallas Stars.

“I really live in the moment,” Pavelski said. “A great feeling for sure, and happy that we can play another game, and take it from there and try to extend it.”

Pavelski, 38, scored on the power play 3:18 into overtime — a one-timer from the middle of the left circle at the far post — and the Stars avoided a sweep in the Western Conference Finals with a 3- 2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

Jason Robertson scored twice in his first career multi-goal playoff game for Dallas, which played without suspended captain Jamie Benn.

“We’re looking for goals and it’s kind of my responsibility that I give myself,” Robertson said. “I know these playoffs have been tough. …I was able to get the rebounds we needed tonight.”

Jake Oettinger made 37 saves, two nights after the 24-year-old Stars goalie was retired at 7:10 of Game 3 after allowing three goals on five shots.

The Stars had the one-man advantage in overtime after Brayden McNabb’s high-sticking penalty on Ty Dellandrea. Fifty seconds into the power play, Pavelski scored on a pass from Miro Heiskanen. They won for the first time in their five games in overtime this postseason — Vegas won the first two games in this series after settlement.

It was only Vegas’ second penalty of the game, both high-batting calls against McNabb. His penalty on Pavelski late in the first period set up the power play when Robertson scored his first goal with some clever stick play.

Pavelski, in his 15th NHL season and still looking for his first Stanley Cup, scored his ninth goal in 12 games this postseason but his first in five games. He has 73 career playoff goals — the most for American-born players and the most of any active player.

“He doesn’t age. … I’ve seen this movie time and time again. He never gets old,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “He lives for those moments and he wants to be in those situations. He always has and delivers almost every time.”

Benn was suspended two games by the NHL on Wednesday for his crosscheck with his stick landing near the neck of Vegas captain Mark Stone in the first two minutes of Game 3 on Tuesday night. Benn will also miss Game 5 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

“Our efforts were not enough”

William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas. Adin Hill saw his five-game winning streak shattered. He made 39 saves, including a game stoppage with his left leg out with about two minutes remaining in regulation on rookie Fredrik Olofsson’s try in his first career playoff game.

“Our efforts weren’t good enough. Closing a series is probably the hardest game in a series, isn’t it, so it just wasn’t good enough from our group,” said Marchessault. “It was still a one-goal game in overtime. It was just there for us.”

Karlsson and Marchessault are among six original Vegas players still on the squad from the inaugural 2017-18 season that ended with the Knights playing for the Stanley Cup, despite losing in five games to the Capitals. Washington after winning Game 1.

Vegas missed a chance to complete a sweep, one night after the Florida Panthers completed a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Vegas took a 2-1 lead midway through the second period when Marchessault, after hitting his stick on the back of Ryan Suter in front of the net, scored on a pass between the legs of McNabb’s Stars defenseman, another Original Golden Knight.

Robertson’s equalizer at the end of that period came on a ricochet from the backboard just seconds after another shot hit the post. It was the fourth goal of this series and the sixth of the playoffs, after this regular season becoming the first Dallas player with a 100-point season.

On his first goal late in the first that tied the game 1-1, Robertson deflected Heiskanen’s shot just inside the blue line in the air. As Hill tried to secure the puck in his glove, Robertson released it, then reached over and slid the puck into the net with his stick parallel to the ice.

With former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and wrestling great Ric Flair both in the building wearing Stars jerseys, Dallas was avoided being swept in the playoffs for the first time since 2001 against St. Louis in the second round. It was the Stars’ 21st playoff series since then.

The Golden Knights scored first again – but not like those quick three goals in Game 3 that led to Oettinger’s first ever outing.

Karlsson pushed the puck up and skated to the front of the net after passing to Nicolas Roy, whose pass in traffic went over a Dallas stick before Reilly Smith caught it just inside from the right circle and takes a shot. Karlsson’s deflection past Oettinger after just 4:17 of play was his eighth playoff goal.

“There were a lot of opportunities to rush,” said Smith, also with Vegas from the start. “I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job of making it difficult for them. So we have another opportunity in two days.”

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