Game Three came and went and unfortunately for the Vegas Golden Knights, the :31 overtime did not go their way. They dropped the game 3-2, with a stellar performance from Anton Khudobin, and now trail the Dallas Stars 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals.
Much of the first two periods were low-event hockey. Dump and chase hockey came from two teams clogging the neutral zone with size, speed, and physical play. The first goal of the game came in the final seconds of the second period, from an unlikely source in an unlikely way.
Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak found himself on a breakaway after a Mark Stone shot was blocked. Inexplicably, Oleksiak and fellow defense partner Miro Heiskanen found themselves at their own blue line, as Heiskanen made the outlet pass to Oleksiak. He went forehand to backhand a squeaked it by an outstretched Lehner, effectively ending the goaltender's franchise best shutout streak.
Shea Theodore knotted the game up, with his seventh goal of the playoffs, just 3:49 into the third. The d-man sent a seeing-eye wrist shot at the net and it found a home behind Khudobin. Stone made contact with an incensed Khudobin, but the goal was upheld following a Dallas challenge. The Stars would go on to kill the ensuing penalty.
Building off the momentum of the successful Power Play, the Stars regained the lead when captain Jamie Benn snuck a wrister between Lehner's legs. Good stick contact by Alexander Radulov on Chandler Stephenson created a turnover in the neutral zone. The puck found Tyler Seguin and he quickly hit Benn, who got behind the defenseman, Nate Schmidt. It was a goal Lehner would like to have back.
One of Vegas' captains counterpunched, tying the game at two by being in the right place at the right time. Alex Tuch, who has been flying around the ice, sent a shot toward the net that went off Stone and in the net. That'd be the last good moment for the VGK as a streaking Radulov fired a perfect GWG off the post and in on the first shift of the overtime period.
It was a pretty evenly contested game, although the Golden Knights outshot the Stars 40-23. Overall the VGK attempted 73 shots, but many from far too wide. When they get to the net, they're dangerous, but they still love their point shots.
Although the Golden Knights play fast and physical, the Stars are more than happy to oblige. It's imperative for Vegas to impose their will and force their way to the High Danger areas. Every inch must be earned this late in the playoffs and the Golden Knights are holding the bill. They're supposed to be the better team and need to take control of the series, before it's too late.
Game Four will be on Saturday evening, with another 5pm PDT start. Catch up with me on Twitter before the game for good hockey discussion and any important VGK updates.