Joe Pavelski scores game winner in OT for Dallas as Stars push for Game 5 against Knights

Joe Pavelski scores game winner in OT for Dallas to ensure the Stars avoid playoff sweep as 3-2 win forces Game 5 against Vegas Golden Knights

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Joe Pavelski netted a game winner in overtime to ensure that the Stars live to fight another day, with Dallas now trailing 3-1 in its playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals. 

Pavelski scored within 3:18 into overtime – a one-timer from the middle of the left circle to the far post – on Thursday night. Just seconds prior to the 38-year-old’s goal, Stars forward Roope Hintz thought he had wrapped the game up with an effort close to goal, only to be denied by Vegas goaltender Adin Hill.

Pavelski’s late winner came two-and-a-half minutes after Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb was penalized for high-sticking against Ty Dellandrea. The Stars scored with roughly 1:10 of power play time left until McNabb’s return to the ice.

McNabb was also at fault for Jason Robertson’s first goal of the night after his penalty on Pavelski late in the first period set up the power play. 

Robertson’s second goal came in the second period, turning Thursday night’s game into his first career multigoal playoff game for Dallas, which was played without the team’s suspended captain, Jamie Benn.

Joe Pavelski celebrates a game-winning power play goal vs. the Vegas Golden Knights in OT

Pavelski scored a one-timer from the middle of the left circle to the far post within 3:18 of OT

Pavelski scored a one-timer from the middle of the left circle to the far post within 3:18 of OT

Jake Oettinger had 37 saves, two nights after he was pulled 7:10 into Game 3 after allowing three goals on five shots. 

Pavelski scored his ninth goal in 12 games this postseason. His tally of postseason goals goes up to 73 — the most for U.S.-born players and the most among all active players.   

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

William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas. Adin Hill had his five-game winning streak snapped. He made 39 shots, including a game-saver with his extended left leg without about two minutes left in regulation on rookie Fredrik Olofsson’s swiping try in his first career playoff game.

Karlsson and Marchessault are among six of the original Vegas players still on the team from the inaugural 2017-18 season that ended with the Knights playing for the Stanley Cup, though they lost in five games to the Washington Capitals after winning the first game.

Vegas missed a chance to complete a sweep, a night after the Florida Panthers finished off a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.

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

Jason Robertson, of the Stars, tips the puck for a goal against Adin Hill during the first period

Jason Robertson, of the Stars, tips the puck for a goal against Adin Hill during the first period

Thursday night's dramatic win was Robertson's first career multigoal playoff game for Dallas

Thursday night’s dramatic win was Robertson’s first career multigoal playoff game for Dallas

Robertson’s tying goal late in that period came on a ricochet off the back board just seconds after he had another shot hit the post. That was the fourth goal of this series, and sixth in the playoffs, after this regular season becoming the first Dallas player with a 100-point season.

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. This was the Stars’ 21st playoff series since then.

The Golden Knights scored first again — though not like the first three goals on five shots in the first 7:10 of Game 3 led to the earliest exit ever for Oettinger.

Karlsson pushed the puck up and skated to the front of the net after passing to Nicolas Roy, whose pass through traffic went off a Dallas stick before Reilly Smith — also with Vegas since the beginning — got it just inside the right circle and took a shot. Karlsson’s deflection past Oettinger only 4:17 into the game was his eighth goal this postseason.

Dallas got even at 1-1 on a power play with 4:18 left in the first period after some nifty stickwork by Robertson, who deflected Miro Heiskanen’s shot from just inside the blue line up into the air. 

As Hill was trying to secure the puck into his glove, Robertson knocked it free and then reached around and swiped the puck into the net with his stick parallel to the ice.

Hill, coming off his first career playoff shutout, had stopped 60 shots in a row over a span that included overtime in Game 2 after stopping all 10 shots he faced in the third period.