The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in their six-year history. In Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, the Golden Knights blanked the Dallas Stars, 6-0 .
After winning back-to-back elimination games, the Stars came home to a rocking atmosphere at the American Airlines Center. However, that atmosphere quickly turned sour when the Golden Knights took a 3-0 lead just 14 minutes into the game.
William Carrier opened the scoring for Vegas 3:41 into the first period, and the Golden Knights poured it on from there. William Karlsson scored a pair of goals to bring his postseason total to 10, and Jonathan Marchessault continued his hot streak with his ninth goal in 10 games.
Karlsson wound up with a three-point game after assisting on the Golden Knights' sixth and final goal. He really started to heat up in this series, but Vegas got contributions from all four lines. In fact, every player who suited up for the Golden Knights in this series recorded a point.
Adin Hill, who has emerged as a star in goal for the Golden Knights, stood tall for his second shutout of the series. Hill stopped all 23 shots he saw in Game 6, and his save percentage for the entire series was .949.
The Stars did well to battle back and get this series to a Game 6 after falling behind 3-0 in embarrassing fashion. Whether it was exhaustion on the part of Dallas or a greater sense of urgency from Vegas, the Stars didn't have nearly enough juice to force a Game 7. Dallas was on its heels from the opening puck drop.
Now that they have the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in their possession, the Golden Knights will face the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final.
Game 1 of that series is on Saturday, June 3.
Game 1: Golden Knights 4, Stars 3 (OT)
The Golden Knights took care of business in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, beating the visiting Stars 4-3 in overtime thanks to a two-goal performance from William Karlsson and a game-winner from Brett Howden.
Dallas opened the scoring via a Jason Robertson goal with just over a minute remaining in the first period, but it was all Vegas from then. Karlsson scored the game's next two goals to give Vegas its first lead, and after Dallas' Roope Hintz scored a game-tier at 4:01 of the third, Teddy Blueger swung it back in Vegas' favor with a goal of his own at the 9:20 mark.
But just when it looked like Dallas was done, Jamie Benn scored a game-tying goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation to send it to overtime. Overtime, however, was a quick affair as Howden scored the game-winner by banking the puck off Stars goalie Jake Oettinger at 1:35 of the extra period. The Golden Knights are now 2-0 in overtime games this postseason, while the Stars are 0-3.
Vegas' victory spoiled the return of Stars coach Pete DeBoer, who was fired by the Golden Knights after coaching the team the last three seasons. DeBoer will hope for redemption in Game 2 as the series will stick in Vegas.
Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Stars 2 (OT)
The Golden Knights beat the Stars in overtime for a second consecutive game, winning 3-2 this time despite trailing for almost the entire third period. Jonathan Marchessault tied the game at 2-2 at 17:38 of the third period; then Chandler Stephenson finished the Stars off with a game-winner just over a minute into the OT period. The Golden Knights remain outstanding in overtime this postseason, as they're now 3-0 in such games, while the Stars are 0-4.
Dallas' Miro Heiskanen quieted the crowd early by scoring a wrist shot goal less than three minutes into the game, but Vegas' Mark Stone responded with a power play goal at 10:08 of the first period to even it at 1-1. Dallas would then take control, as Jason Robertson gave his team the lead back with a snapshot goal at 9:21 of the second period while goalie Jake Oettinger was masterful in the net.
But with less than three minutes left in regulation, Marchessault scored the equalizing goal off a nifty pass from Jack Eichel to tie the game in the eventual overtime victory.
Stephenson, Marchessault, and Stone each had a goal and an assist, while goalie Adin Hill had a productive afternoon in the net with 26 saves.
Game 3: Golden Knights 4, Stars 0
Just 7:20 into Game 3, the Dallas Stars had fallen behind 3-0 against the Vegas Golden Knights, lost captain Jamie Benn to a game misconduct and pulled starting goaltender Jake Oettinger.
The Golden Knights then took a 4-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and that score held until the final buzzer. The frustration in Dallas could be seen on the ice and in the stands. Late in the second frame, Max Domi let his emotions get the best of him, and he took a total of 14 minutes in penalties.
As if following their team's lead, the fans reacted by throwing exorbitantly priced beverages and snacks onto the ice.
To make matters even worse for Dallas, Evgenii Dadonov left the game with an injury and did not return. His status for Game 4 is unknown, and that's also the case for Benn, who may have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety for attempting to rearrange Stone's teeth.
As embarrassing a night as it was for the Stars, the Golden Knights have to be riding high. They now have a 3-0 lead in the series, and a win in Game 4 will send them to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in the franchise's fledgling history.
Game 4: Stars 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
It seems the third overtime game was the charm for the Stars. After falling in the extra period in Games 1 and 2, Dallas kept its season alive with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 4. Vegas still leads the series 3-1 and will host Game 5.
For now, though, Dallas fans can rejoice with their first win of the Western Conference Final. Joe Pavelski is the player to thank, as he scored the game-winner at 3:18 of overtime. Jason Robertson was the standout throughout the contest, as he scored two goals to keep Dallas' offense afloat.
William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault accounted for Vegas' two goals.
The Stars played without captain Jamie Benn and Evgenii Dadonov because of suspension and injury, respectively, and they fought hard enough to stave off elimination. Benn will remain suspended for Game 5, while Dadonov's status is unclear.
Game 5: Stars 4, Golden Knights 2
The Stars have forced a home Game 6 with a resounding 4-2 victory over the Golden Knights, putting significant pressure on a Vegas team that looked to have the series wrapped up with a 3-0 lead.
Dallas took control with a Ty Dellandrea scoring surge midway through the third period. Dellandrea got it going with a wrister at 10:35, and less than a minute-and-a-half later he added another goal to give Dallas its first multi-goal lead of the entire series.
Before Dellandrea's heroics, the Stars stayed even with the Golden Knights by quickly matching Vegas' first two goals to quiet the T-Mobile Arena crowd.
Vegas' Ivan Barbashev got the game's scoring started with a wrister at 13:36 of the first period, then Dallas' Luke Glendening scored the equalizer at 15:24 by redirecting Thomas Harley's shot into the net. Chandler Stephenson would later fire a snap shot to the top corner of the net to give Vegas a 2-1 lead at 3:30 of the second period, but Dallas responded just over two minutes later as Jason Robertson scored a wrister for his fifth goal in as many games.
The series will shift to Dallas for Game 6, and Stars captain Jamie Benn will be eligible to play after serving a two-game suspension for cross-checking Mark Stone in Game 3.
Game 6: Golden Knights 6, Stars 0