3 Takeaways From Stars 3-2 (SO) Victory Over the Vegas Golden Knights

The Dallas Stars outlasted the Vegas Golden Knights for a huge 3-2 shootout victory on Tuesday night in Dallas. 

The Suspense is Killing Me! 

There are certain regular-season games that feel more like the playoffs. Tuesday reached a whole new level of that. Going into the matchup, the Stars had the ability to clinch a playoff spot with a regulation win while Vegas desperately needed two points to keep their playoff hopes alive. On top of that, the game had implications for multiple other teams around the league and much of the NHL fan base was rooting for Vegas to miss the playoffs after making it in their first four seasons. Inside the American Airlines Center, you could cut the tension with a knife. 

“What did you guys think?” Tyler Seguin responded with a smile when asked about the intensity of the game on the ice. “That was a playoff game.”

Tyler Seguin Dallas Stars-3 Takeaways From Stars 3-2 Shootout Victory Over the Vegas Golden Knights
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Vegas opened the scoring in the final minute of the first period which seemed to only tighten things more inside the building. When Jason Robertson scored his first of the game in the second, the crowd erupted and breathed a sigh of relief as their team was back in the game. Then, the cycle repeated itself as the Golden Knights tallied a power-play goal with 3.3 seconds left in the second and forced Dallas to get another tying tally in the third period. When it was all said and done and Jake Oettinger made the final save to seal the win, the roof blasted off of the building echoing throughout the entire city. 

“When the crowd is like that, it felt like a playoff game tonight,” Oettinger said. “We’re going to need the crowd to be great for us the rest of the way here and they have been doing that all year. To have an atmosphere like that, I think it was a huge advantage for us and I think we fed off it.”

Oettinger & Robertson Stepping Up to the Challenge

The talk around the rink at morning skate mostly surrounded the young Stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger. Can these two step up when the intensity is at its peak and everything is on the line? Last season, Oettinger struggled mightily in overtime and the shootout, a big part of the Stars dropping 17 games past 60 minutes. This year, he has completely flipped the script, leading his club to the NHL’s best record past regulation (15-5). On Tuesday, he stopped all seven Vegas shooters to clinch the shootout victory. 

“Probably that I can actually stop them this year,” Oettinger laughed when asked about the difference from last season in the shootout. “Last year, I just didn’t have a ton of confidence in shootouts. You can do it a million times in practice but you just have to do it in games. I am just more confident and trust in what I do.”

Robertson also stepped up and shined in the biggest spotlight against Vegas. The 22-year-old forward scored two goals, both in high-skill fashion, and gave his team a chance to come back and win the game. The goals were the 39th and 40th of the season, making him just the fourth player in Stars history to hit that mark (Mike Modano, Jamie Benn, & Tyler Seguin).  

“He is just a rink rat,” Oettinger said. “It doesn’t surprise anyone in that dressing room that he has scored that many goals. I love having him as one of the guys that comes out early and shoots because he tests you 24/7. He is never trying to warm you up, he is always trying to score, which can sometimes be annoying. He loves hockey, he loves scoring.”

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Stars Inch Closer to Clinching a Playoff Spot 

While Dallas did not get the regulation victory they needed to clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday, they did earn two huge points that put them into an even better position. Now, heading into a matchup with the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, the Stars need just one point over their final two games to earn a playoff berth. 

“Tomorrow night is not going to be any easier, right?” Robertson said. “I think they just beat Minnesota so anyone can beat anyone in the league. We just have to come out with that same intensity, try to take the lead, and try to take that game over. We need that win more than they do.”

Two goals from Robertson, a huge night from Oettinger, Miro Heiskanen’s shootout dagger, and a playoff atmosphere. What a night it was at the AAC. And now, it is time to run it back and do it all over again on Wednesday. 

He Said It 

“We need one point,” Rick Bowness said. “We have got to play better. That was a good hockey team tonight and that was a hell of a hockey game. Our fans were fantastic and we love the atmosphere tonight. Still, we have some guys that can play better.” 

Sam’s Three Stars 

  • Third Star: Miro Heiskanen, DAL (shootout winner, 3 SOG, 27:46 TOI)
  • Second Star: Jake Oettinger, DAL (33 saves, 7/7 in shootout)
  • First Star: Jason Robertson, DAL (2 goals)
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