The Dallas Stars took a 2-1 series lead in 2020 Western Conference Final by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 (OT) in Game 3. Alexander Radulov ended up being the hero for the Stars, scoring the game-winner just 31 seconds into overtime.
That goal capped a back-and-forth affair that really heated up over the last 20 minutes (and 31 seconds).
Radulov now has four game-winners during this postseason, including two in OT.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Goals were scarce — until things picked up late
As the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs grind on, goals are becoming tough to come by.
For almost two full periods, Vegas and Dallas sat deadlocked at 0-0. The Golden Knights held a slight edge in play during the opening frame, while the Stars were assertive in the second. Before things could remain tied going into the third period, Jamie Oleksiak scored an unlikely breakaway goal to give the Stars a 1-0 lead:
(Did even Oleksiak expect to end Robin Lehner‘s shutout streak? Either way, it ended at 171:27, setting a new Golden Knights playoff record.)
This opened the door for some serious pushes from Vegas during the third period, and some of the best sequences in what had been a clogged-up affair.
Almost four minutes into the third, Shea Theodore found the net once again on a funky power-play goal.
While that falls into the theme of Golden Knights defensemen creating a lot of offense lately, Jamie Benn reminded us that this pattern goes both ways. Benn beat Robin Lehner five hole for the 2-1 goal, representing the first goal of the 2020 Western Conference Final from a Stars forward.
The Golden Knights poured on the pressure during the third period, not allowing that Benn goal to break their will. In a key moment, Alex Tuch‘s tying goal counted after a goalie interference review that really could have gone either way.
After a challenge for goalie interference this has been ruled a GOOD GOAL. #VegasBorn have TIED it late in period 3️⃣.
💻: https://t.co/QDx8zVm5n1 pic.twitter.com/9oQsoVOOYM
— #StanleyCup Playoffs on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 11, 2020
Stars win Game 3 in OT as Radulov scores quickly against Golden Knights
Anton Khudobin made key, tough saves during the ensuing power play relating to that failed challenge. While he stood strong, having to stretch out for a difficult save against Reilly Smith seemed to leave Khudobin shaken up. (Or maybe the sheer pace of Golden Knights chances made Khudobin winded?)
During the dying moments of regulation, a wild bounce opened the door for another Jamie Benn chance. After Khudobin himself looked shaken up, Lehner also left the ice with some difficulty.
Those Khudobin shorthanded saves ended up looming large, as Radulov scored his tremendous OT goal to thwart Vegas.
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars (DAL leads 2-1)
Game 1: Stars 1, Golden Knights 0. (recap)
Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Stars 0. (recap)
Game 3: Stars 3, Golden Knights 2 [OT].
Game 4: Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
Game 5: Monday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Game 6: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 7: Friday, Sept. 18, 9 p.m. ET – NBCSN
MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.