GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Wyatt Johnston Scores In OT, Stars Beat Golden Knights To Cut Series Deficit

Apr 28, 2024, 9:34 AM

Wyatt-Johnston-Dallas-Stars-NHL...

Ryan Suter #20, Jason Robertson #21 and Wyatt Johnston #53 of the Dallas Stars react after Johnston scored an overtime goal against the Vegas Golden Knights to win Game Three of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs 3-2 at T-Mobile Arena on April 27, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Wyatt Johnston scored his second goal of the game in overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over Vegas on Saturday night, cutting the defending champion Golden Knights’ series lead to 2-1.

Johnston, who had a team-high eight shots, dragged the puck down the left side to the goal line, drawing goalie Logan Thompson into a low position, and beating him with a high shot 16:23 into the extra period.

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“What a player,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said about the 20-year-old forward. “He still can’t get in the casino and play cards, he’s not old enough, it’s unbelievable.

“Really incredible play by one of … the great young players, the next generation of stars of this league. I thought he was just outstanding tonight for a kid to be under 21 years old and be on that ice with that level of player and look like he did all night tonight, just an outstanding player.”

Johnston’s shots on goal tied a career high, as he was arguably Dallas’ best player.

“You don’t want to go down 3-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champs,” Johnston said. “So I think it’s that desperation coming out and making sure we’re doing all those things that make us successful.”

Miro Heiskanen also scored for the Stars, and Jake Oettinger made 32 saves. The Stars had lost six straight against Vegas, which was hosting its first home playoff game since winning the Stanley Cup last June.

Brayden McNabb and Jack Eichel scored for Vegas, and Thompson stopped a career-high 43 shots. Dallas, which averaged 31.5 shots per game during the regular season, held a whopping advantage of high-danger shots, 27-4.

Game 4 is Monday night in Las Vegas.

“It’s huge,” Oettinger said. “I mean, you lose that game you’re down 3-0 and you never know what happens there. So, we win a game on Monday, we have home-ice advantage again.”

Johnston opened the scoring midway through the first period when he backhanded a loose puck off a rebound through Thompson’s pads.

Dallas outshot Vegas 18-8 after one while it marked the first time the Western Conference’s top seed led at the end of a period in this series.

The Stars made it 2-0 at 5:25 of the second when they caught the Golden Knights in transition and ended up with a 3-on-2 rush. Former Golden Knight Evgeni Dadonov fed Tyler Seguin, who found a wide-open Heiskanen for the finish.

After tempers began flared midway through the second with Vegas’ physical fourth line, and two roughing penalties resulted in a 4 on 4, McNabb skated to the high slot and fired a wrist shot past Oettinger to pull Dallas within one.

Shortly thereafter, Eichel skated into the zone with William Karlsson on a 2 on 1, kept it for himself and buried a shot from the right circle to tie it to ignite the announced crowd of 18,536.

“At some point, you have to get to your game,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It just took us too long. Now having said that, we weathered it because of Logan. He gave us every chance to get back in the game and we did. So once it was 2-2, then it was a little different. But they executed better than we did. You could see it in overtime. They had more jump, more urgency.”

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Wyatt Johnston Scores In OT, Stars Beat Golden Knights To Cut Series Deficit