DALLAS – The old goal scorer and the young goalie have put the underdog Dallas Stars out front in their first-round playoff series against the Calgary Flames.
Joe Pavelski scored twice and got the game-winner on the first power-play goal in the series for Dallas, and Jake Oettinger had 39 saves as the wild-card Stars won 4-2 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 series lead over the Pacific Division champs who have three 40-goal scorers.
Two nights after making 29 saves in a 2-0 win at Calgary that evened the series, the 23-year-old Oettinger got his second playoff victory in his first playoff game on home ice — and the first for the Stars in more than three years. That included a tremendous stop on a breakaway chance by Johnny Gaudreau with 3 1/2 minutes left.
“That’s one big timely save,” coach Rick Bowness said. “Jake's doing fantastic. He just rock solid back there, not intimidated by the surroundings and the noise."
The Stars were 0 for 10 with an extra skater in the series, though one of those power plays had been for only 4 seconds earlier in Game 3, before the 37-year-old Pavelski's tiebreaking goal with 9:55 left made it 3-2.
Pavelski had made a cross-ice pass on a rush to Vladislav Namestnikov, who then took a shot that bounced of of goalie Jacob Markstrom. The puck was knocked in by Pavelski, whose 64 career postseason goals are the most by an American-born skater.
“It’s big. It’s another step,” Pavelski, who also had the game-winner in Game 2, said of taking a 2-1 series lead. “There’s a lot of effort from up and down the lineup. Lots of physicality. Guys handing in, taking checks, making plays.”
Like Oettinger, it was the first home playoff game at the American Airlines Center for Pavelski. His first season with the Stars in 2019-20 ended with them making it to the Stanley Cup Final when the entire postseason was played in a bubble in Canada because of the pandemic.
Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas, before the series shifts back to Calgary for Game 5 on Wednesday.
“Our group still feels really good. Really confident in our entire ability,” said Calgary veteran center Blake Coleman, who played his first playoff game in Dallas, about a half-hour from where he grew up in Plano, Texas. “We win one game and we have home ice back. That was our goal here. There’s no panic in our room.”
Radek Faksa scored the first goal for Dallas, and Roope Hintz added an empty-net tally just before the final horn. Miro Heiskanen had two assists for the Stars, who also finished with a 44-23 advantage in hits.
Elias Lindholm and Trevor Lewis had goals for Calgary.
After the teams traded shutouts and combined for only three goals in the two games at Calgary, they had another physical and brawling game. Matthew Tkachuk and John Klingberg fought only 1:22 into the game, trading blows and getting 5-minute majors as Oettinger made a glove save of Gaudreau’s wrister on Calgary’s first shot.
Pavelski’s first goal of the game tied it at 2 about midway through the second period, when he knocked in Heiskanen’s shot that ricocheted off Markstrom. That came only seconds after Markstrom’s off-balance rejection of a shot by Heiskanen, though the Stars were able to keep the possession alive.
Markstrom stopped 28 shots.
Faksa put the Stars up 1-0 about 8 1/2 minutes into the game when he used his stick to redirect Esa Lindell’s shot on a pass from Heiskanen right after a faceoff.
Just before that, Faksa was leveled in front of the net by Noah Hanifan before Markstrom was able to control the puck after a shot by Heiskanen.
Calgary got even at 1-1 on a goal that Bowness thought came because of goalie interference, with Oettinger laid on his side after contact with Milan Lucic. Dallas lost the replay challenge.
It appeared that Lucic, who was engaged with Tyler Seguin, tried to avoid the Dallas goalie. The contact happened just outside the crease and Lucic was able to push the puck back front, where it was knocked in by Lewis.
The Flames took a 2-1 lead when Lindholm scored from just inside the circle early in the second period.
“Hard fought. Close games,” Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said. “You’ve got to play the whole game. We knew they were going to come out.”
Klingberg got a game misconduct at the end of the first period in Game 1 of the series, at the same time Tkachuk was in a fight with Michael Raffl. Klingberg also got a roughing penalty in Game 2, and added an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty later in Game 3. He has 26 penalty minutes in this series, after 34 penalty minutes in 74 regular-season games. ... Oettinger had stopped 57 shots in a row over a span of nearly 129 minutes, ending the seventh-longest postseason scoreless streak ever by a Stars goalie. ... There have been 45 penalties and 124 penalty minutes combined in the three games.
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