DALLAS (AP)Miro Heiskanen made the only shot in a seven-round shootout after Jason Robertson scored twice to reach the 40-goal mark, and the Dallas Stars are on the verge of finally clinching a playoff spot.
The Vegas Golden Knights aren’t done yet, but are close to missing the postseason for the first time in their brief franchise history.
Jake Oettinger, who had 33 saves through overtime, made one last stop in the shootout after Heiskanen’s back-handed tally as the Stars got a 3-2 victory over Vegas on Tuesday night.
”We taught him a lot by practicing on him,” Stars center Tyler Seguin said of the young goalie. ”He’s worked hard at shootouts and you know how good he’s gotten at them. That’s all from his determination and practice, and it was huge for us.”
With Nashville claiming one of the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots despite its overtime loss at home Tuesday, that leaves one spot for either the Stars or Golden Knights. Dallas and Nashville both have 95 points, but the Predators hold all tiebreakers over Dallas and Vegas (91 points).
”We’ve still got a pulse. We’re not eliminated,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. ”I’m proud of our group. They came in and played one hell of a road game. We got the lead, it was up again, had some chances to win the game and we just didn’t finish. You have to give their goalie some credit.”
The Stars need just a single point over their last two games to get that other wild-card spot. In order for the Golden Knights to reach the playoffs, they have to win their last two games and Dallas would have to lose both games in regulation.
Vegas made the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season in 2017-18 and has been in the playoffs the past three seasons.
Oettinger had a full-split glove save with 2:37 left in regulation of Shea Theodore’s long slap shot. Only one puck got past him in the shootout, but Jonathan Marchessault’s attempt banged off the left post.
”Yeah it’s a dream come true, those are the opportunities that you want as a professional athlete, to be able to step up for the guys that are in the room,” Oettinger said.
Logan Thompson had 28 saves, with a glove stop of his own when Roope Hintz drove hard and ripped a shot with 3:08 left in overtime. Thompson was briefly shaken up about a minute later when Vladislav Namestnikov slid through the crease, knocking the goalie down and dislodging the net.
Robertson had a nifty play skating through the circle for his first goal, then got the Stars even at 2 just over three minutes into the third period. John Klingberg made a precision pass to Robertson near the front of the net and he redirected the puck past Thompson.
The 22-year-old Robertson became only the fourth 40-goal scorer in Dallas Stars history, and the first since Tyler Seguin’s 40 in 2017-18. The others were Mike Modano’s club-record 50 in 1993-94 and captain Jamie Benn’s 41 in 2015-16.
”I have the luxury of having elite players around me,” Robertson said. ”I’m just trying to play hockey, and definitely couldn’t have got there without (teammates) setting me up.”
Robertson got his 39th goal in the second period when he weaved through the circle, going right to left to set up a low forehand shot over Thompson’s glove and just inside the post to the goalie’s right.
Vegas took a 2-1 lead on Chandler Stephenson’s power-play goal with only two seconds left in the second period.
Oettinger was out of the crease to the right of the net after making a pad save with his extended leg when Stephenson, only a few seconds after missing a shot, knocked the ricocheted puck into the open net past defenseman Esa Lindell’s desperate sliding attempt to prevent Stephenson’s 21st goal of the season.
The Golden Knights were coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to San Jose in their regular-season home finale Sunday night, when they squandered a two-goal lead in the final 2:06 of regulation and got one point instead of two. They play at Chicago on Wednesday night.
”It’s not perfect back-to-back. But we really don’t have a choice,” DeBoer said. ”We’ve got to find a way to reenergize here and win a game tomorrow.”
Thompson played for the fifth time in six games, but the first since the Golden Knights said Monday that starting goalie Robin Lehner would undergo season-ending left shoulder surgery. Lehner initially got hurt Feb. 9. … There was a scuffle with 2:27 left in regulation after Hintz went by the Vegas net. The Stars center was first pushed by Alec Martinez, but after he was pulled back by 37-year-old Stars center Joe Pavelski, Jack Eichel got face-to-face with Hintz. Eichel and Hintz both got roughing penalties. … The Golden Knights had won the first two games against Dallas this season, and are 8-2-1 all time against the Stars.
Golden Knights: The second of three consecutive road games to end the regular season.
Stars: Dallas is 2-1 against the Coyotes this season, but lost 3-1 in the most recent meeting Feb. 20.
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