The Dallas Stars eliminate the Vegas Golden Knights in the seventh game

DALLAS – Radek Faksa broke the tie in his return to the Dallas lineup, 20-year-old Wyatt Johnston scored in another Game 7 and the Stars beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Sunday night to close out the game. First round series.

After being out with an undisclosed injury since coming off the bench late in Game 2, Faksa scored 44 seconds into the third period on a backhander from the circle to the left of goaltender Aden Hill.

“It was a huge relief,” Faksa said on TNT’s postgame show. “It was the biggest goal of my career… I promised [my son] “I’m going to score a goal tonight, and I’m glad I did.”

Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger made 21 saves in his second win of Game 7. He also earned the Stars’ only penalty kick, though they took it away after he was called for tripping Ivan Barbashev in front of the net midway through the third period.

“The last period was a clinic. I’m very proud of how the guys responded,” Ottinger said. “It’s a long qualifier, and you’ll need different players to advance at different times. There’s still a lot of hockey, so hopefully there will be a lot of champions. It’s going to be a run.”

The Stars, the No. 1 seed in the West, move on to play Colorado, which is well-rested in the second round with the first two games in Dallas. The Avalanche closed out its series against Winnipeg with a Game 5 win on Tuesday night.

Brett Howden scored for Vegas, who couldn’t pull off another series winner for Dallas, where last year’s Knights finished off the Western Conference Finals with a Game 6 win. Hill made 22 saves in his third game of the series after Logan Thompson. The first four started.

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The visitors won the first four games in the series until the home teams held serve in the final three games.

Dallas has won a Game 7 in each of his first two postseason seasons for coach Pete DeBoer, who is now 8-0 in his career in such games with four different teams. That includes the Knights’ only Game 7 victories in 2020 and 2021 while he was their coach.

Johnston scored his fourth goal of the series from the top of the slot with 5:26 left in the first half after taking a clearing pass from Shea Theodore that teammate Tomas Hertl missed when he made a curling pass on it. .

“It was a lot of fun,” Johnston said in his post-match interview on Bally Sports Southwest. “This is what we all grew up dreaming of. As hockey players, you want to play in Game 7. And there was a lot of energy in the building.”

One day after his 20th birthday last year, Johnston became the youngest player in NHL history with the game-clinching goal in Game 7. He collected a ball that bounced off the backboards in the third period of the Stars’ 2-1 win. over Seattle in that second-round series.

The goal on Sunday came in quick succession after Vegas had two scoring chances. Ottinger made tough saves to block Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault, then drilled the rebound off the left post, getting a hit on Johnston before the Dallas youngster skated to the other end and scored about 10 seconds later.

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Vegas, which returned 22 of its 27 players from its Stanley Cup-winning roster, tied the game in the second period when Michael Amadio crossed to Howden, who slammed the puck into the open left side of the net behind Oettinger.

The only coach other than DeBoer to have won eight Game 7 games is Darryl Sutter, who is 8-3 in such games over 182 playoff appearances in 15 seasons with four teams.

The Knights are 2-2 in the seventh match. DeBoer was also the opposing coach in their other loss to San Jose in 2019.

This was only the second time out of 16 that the Stars won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games. The other was the first playoff series in franchise history, when the Minnesota North Stars were down 0-2 before defeating the Los Angeles Kings in seven games to open the 1968 playoffs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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