Denis Gurianov was the overtime hero, and the Dallas Stars summoned another comeback to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 Monday night in Edmonton and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years.
Dallas, which won the best-of-seven Western Conference finals in five games, overcame a 2-0 deficit in the last 11 minutes of regulation. The Stars will face either the Tampa Bay Lightning or New York Islanders for the championship. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference finals 3-1.
With the Stars on the power play, Gurianov set up at the right faceoff dot and drilled a 110 mph one-timer that found the mark at 3:36 of overtime. Dallas has won all four of its playoff games that went beyond regulation this year.
Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin made 34 saves in yet another clutch performance, and his team came from behind to win for the second game in a row.
With his team down by a pair near the midway point of the third period, Dallas captain Jamie Benn put his team on the board at 9:54 and cued the comeback. During a scramble, Benn gained the puck in the low slot and snapped a high shot into the net for his third goal in as many games.
It was similar to the overtime-forcing, game-tying goal by rookie Joel Kiviranta with 3:47 remaining in regulation. John Klingberg's point shot was stopped, but Kiviranta -- who had a hat trick in the Stars' Game 7 win over the Colorado Avalanche last round -- pounced on the rebound and buried the golden chance for the power-play marker.
And now, the Golden Knights head into the offseason knowing they blew a huge opportunity in their elimination game.
Needing a strong start to help keep their hopes alive, the Golden Knights received it when Chandler Stephenson opened the scoring in the first period. Stephenson was sprung on a breakaway by Shea Theodore and tucked a backhand through Khudobin's legs at the 8:14 mark. It was the first time in eight games that Vegas scored a first-period goal.
Then, Reilly Smith tallied 15 seconds into the third period to double the lead. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner stopped Tyler Seguin's one-timer, which sent the Golden Knights the other way on an odd-man rush, and Smith ripped a top-corner shot over Khudobin's trapper to snap a 10-game goal scoring drought. It was the fastest goal to start a period in Golden Knights playoff history.
Lehner finished with 23 saves in the loss.
--Field Level Media