LAS VEGAS — The Dallas Stars find themselves in a familiar predicament, grappling with another overtime loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite their efforts to uncover the secret to success in extra time, the Stars have been unable to crack the code, suffering their second consecutive overtime defeat and their fourth of the postseason. Analyzing their struggles, however, has proven to be a challenging task.
Following the Stars’ 3-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at T-Mobile Arena, head coach Peter DeBoer confessed, “I mean, I don’t have the answer to that.” The enigma of winning in overtime is a crucial element of the playoff journey, as teams that advance far into the postseason discover the ability to triumph in these high-pressure situations. Despite an impressive performance in Game 2, where they rectified previous errors and showcased commendable play, the Stars failed to capitalize on their chances in overtime.
The Stars’ woes in playoff overtime games extend back to last year, as they currently hold a disheartening 0-5 record. Their most recent heartbreaking loss came in Game 7 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames, resulting in a 3-2 defeat.
As the Western Conference Final shifts to Dallas, the upcoming Game 3 at American Airlines Center on Tuesday carries great importance (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, TVAS, SN).
DeBoer acknowledged the Stars’ improvement in Game 2, as they effectively limited the Golden Knights’ scoring opportunities. Particularly noteworthy was their performance during the first two periods, where the Golden Knights managed a mere 10 shots on goal. Forward Jason Robertson’s power-play goal in the second period handed the Stars a 2-1 lead, showcasing their commitment to capitalizing on special teams’ opportunities.
Reflecting on their efforts, Robertson emphasized the significance of converting those rare chances, stating, “Obviously, special teams is important. We want to be good on special teams the whole series. You’ve got to take what you can, those opportunities don’t come often. We got one, but we need to work on it, keep practicing, work on things and try to get more.”
However, the Stars’ hopes were dashed when Vegas launched a late third-period surge. A miscued pass by defenseman Ryan Suter behind the net led to an opportunity for Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev, who swiftly connected with Jack Eichel. Eichel’s impeccable backhand pass found Jonathan Marchessault, who netted the game-tying goal with just 2:22 remaining in regulation.
Regarding the breakdown on that play, Robertson acknowledged the fast-paced nature of the game, saying, “I mean, stuff happens. It’s a fast game out there, they’re a great team, they’re going to create opportunities. We just have to stick together and keep playing, keep being structured, and we didn’t do that in overtime.”
Suter declined to delve into specifics of the play, stating, “That’s for us to talk about. Yeah, obviously it wasn’t the right play and it ended up costing us.” However, DeBoer refrained from attributing blame to Suter, commending the overall performance of his team and acknowledging the exceptional nature of Eichel’s pass.
The Stars had a promising chance to secure victory just 28 seconds into overtime, courtesy of forward Wyatt Johnston. However, the opportunity went begging, and Chandler Stephenson capitalized on a rebound shot a mere 44 seconds later, securing victory for Vegas.
Despite the challenging situation, defenseman Miro Heiskanen remained optimistic, recognizing the progress made in Game 2 compared