Sunday, June 04, 2023|
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DALLAS — The Vegas Golden Knights kept their composure and got the best payback after an ugly hit early against their captain.
They have a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Final and are now just one more win away from making it to another Stanley Cup Final.
Ivan Barbashev scored a power-play goal after Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was ejected because of his hit on Mark Stone less than two minutes into the game. That was the second of three goals the Golden Knights had in the first 7 1/2 minutes, leading to an early exit for goalie Jake Oettinger as they won 4-0 in Game 3 on Tuesday night.
“You keep your composure,” said Alex Pietrangelo, who added a goal midway through the second period.
After the two captains collided near the blue line and Stone fell to the ice, Benn lunged forward with both hands on his stick and made contact near Stone’s neck as he was sliding over the center line.
“We’re upset when we see that, he’s our captain,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But at the end of the day, they make a call that gives us a chance to make them pay for the penalty. And we did with one goal anyway, so we’ve doubled our lead. … Do it the right way. That’s been our mindset all along.”
While Oettinger had the shortest start of his career, Vegas goalie Adin Hill stopped 34 shots in his first career postseason shutout. Hill also became the second Knights goaltender with a five-game winning streak this postseason — Laurent Brossoit won five in a row before an injury.
After four consecutive comeback victories in these playoffs, including two overtime wins at home to start the best-of-seven series, the Golden Knights were in control all of the way in this one.
Game 4 is Thursday night, when Vegas will have the opportunity to advance to its second Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s six seasons.
The Golden Knights were Western Conference champions during their inaugural 2017-18 season, then lost the Cup Final in five games after winning the opener against the Washington Capitals. Vegas missed the playoffs for the only time last season, before coach Pete DeBoer was fired and became the Stars coach.
Johnathan Marchessault scored only 71 seconds into the game, which was only 42 seconds before Benn was assessed a game misconduct after a five-minute major for cross-checking.
“Let’s put it this way, he made a mistake. He feels really badly about it. I don’t think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it,” DeBoer said.
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