Tyler Seguin got the winning goal, but it was the sandpaper grit of Joe Pavelski and an onslaught of shots that got the job done for the Dallas Stars Sunday.
Pavelski registered his first playoff hat trick as the Stars blitzed Calgary Flames goalie Cam Talbot with 62 shots to come from behind and win 5-4, tying their best-of-seven NHL playoff series at two games apiece.
Game 5 goes Tuesday.
Pavelski did it the hard way and with style, scoring twice on greasy rebounds in front of the net, and once picking the corner of the net while flying down the wing.
“I woke up [today] feeling good,” said Pavelski, the former longtime San Jose Shark signed last summer as a free agent.
“Right from the start in the locker room all the guys were intense. Every guy was ready.
“We went out there and we played pretty direct today. We went after it, and I found myself in some good spots.”
WATCH | Stars pull even with Flames in OT:
Seguin, the Stars’ top scorer in the regular season, registered a goal and two assists for his first points in the series.
He tipped in a blue line slapshot from John Klingberg for the winner as the Flames were running around in their own end, with one defender hampered by breaking his stick.
The Stars forced overtime when Pavelski knocked in a rebound off a Klingberg shot on a goalmouth scramble with just 12 seconds to go in the third period.
“There’s a lot of confidence, a lot of belief in that locker room,” said Seguin.
“It might take a full 60 minutes or change, it’s just our identity. We’re a team that is good defensively and that’s where we get our chances offensively.
“We’ll wait ’til the last second if that’s what it takes to do it.”
It was a back and forth game with multiple lead changes. Calgary winger Johnny Gaudreau chalked up the ending to the breaks of the game.
‘Bad break for our team’
“It sucks,” said Gaudreau, who scored his first goal of the series in the second period.
“[They] tie it late. [We] had a couple of good scoring chances in overtime, didn’t find the net. Bad break for our team (on the winning goal). Guy breaks his stick in the D-zone. They’re stuck out there for 45 seconds to a minute. They’re kind of gassed, and they’ve got a couple of guys in front, Talbs can’t see the puck, and it goes in.
“[We’ll] just put it behind us and move on to the next game.”
Denis Gurianov also scored for Dallas while goalie Anton Khudobin made 36 stops for the win.
Sam Bennett, with two goals, Gaudreau, and Tobias Rieder replied for the Flames.
Pavelski broke the ice late in the first period on the man advantage. Klingberg wristed a puck on net, and Pavelski fought through traffic in front to tuck the rebound past Talbot.
After Gaudreau tied it early in the second, it was Pavelski again, roaring down the right wing on a two-on-one, whipping the puck over a diving Erik Gustafsson and into the net.
2-goal game for Bennett
Bennett then scored twice: unleashing a blast from the top of the right face-off circle that spun and knuckled past a screened Khudobin, then barrelling down the right side with Milan Lucic. Lucic fired a shot. Khudobin stopped it with his pad, with the puck going right to Bennett, who fired in the rebound.
It was first ever two-goal playoff game for Bennett.
Sam Bennett is on 🔥 for the <a href=”https://twitter.com/NHLFlames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NHLFlames</a> <br><br>This goal gives him 3 points in just two periods played 😯<br><br> <a href=”https://t.co/vn09tHpfk9″>pic.twitter.com/vn09tHpfk9</a>
Rieder gave Calgary a 4-3 lead early in the third while shorthanded. He and teammate Derek Ryan chased down a loose puck in the Dallas end. Ryan got to the puck first and delivered a backhand pass to a streaking Rieder in the slot for the redirect.
Rieder has three goals in the playoffs, all shorthanded.
Khudobin, the backup to Ben Bishop in the regular season, started the second straight game for Dallas. Bishop played the first two games, allowing seven goals on 52 shots. He was on the bench for Game 3 but didn’t dress Sunday. Jake Oettinger was the backup.
Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk’s status is uncertain as the NHL does not release injury information. He was sandwiched between Stars Jamie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak late in Game 2, literally knocking heads with Oleksiak. He skated woozily to the bench, went down the tunnel to the dressing room and has not played since.
Both teams have a lot to work on. Calgary needs to get more help to Talbot. The Stars are averaging almost 37 shots a night against him in regulation time.
Dallas needs to work on special teams. They have given up three short-handed goals to Calgary.
The Western Conference games are being played in front of no fans at Rogers Place, with the players isolating in between to avoid contracting COVID-19.