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Knights take 2-0 series lead with overtime victory over Stars

Chandler Stephenson celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the Dallas Stars with teammate Shea Theodore in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final in Las Vegas.Chris Unger/Getty

Chandler Stephenson jumped on a rebound 1:12 into overtime and hit the back of the net to complete a rally and give the Vegas Golden Knights a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Final.

Jonathan Marchessault forced overtime with a shot from the slot with just 2:22 left in the third period in Las Vegas.

Stephenson, Marchessault, and Mark Stone each had a goal and an assist for Vegas, and Adin Hill saved 26 shots.

Miro Heiskanen and Jason Robertson each scored for the Stars, and Ryan Suter had two assists. Jake Oettinger made 21 saves.


All four games of the conference finals have gone to overtime, the first time in NHL history that has occurred. Also, Dallas is the fifth team to lose four OT games in a postseason.

Game 3 is Tuesday in Dallas.

Each team took advantage of funky bounces to score in the first period.

Heiskanen scored just 2:47 into the game for the Stars, the puck hopping over Hill. That was the 10th time this postseason the Knights have given up the first goal, but they now have won seven of those games.

Vegas evened the scored at 10:08 when the puck went off Dallas defenseman Esa Lindell’s skate and Stone buried the five-on-three power-play goal.

Robertson scored for the second game in a row when he knocked in a rebound on a power play at 9:21 of the second period to put Dallas back in front at 2-1. That goal rewarded a Stars defensive effort that allowed just 10 shots on goal through the first two periods.

The Knights, however, picked up the pressure in the third period with 12 shots on goal. They forced overtime with 2:22 left when Jack Eichel from behind the net found Marchessault.


Hurricanes struggle to find the net

There are plenty of things coach Rod Brind’Amour likes about how his Carolina Hurricanes have played to open the Eastern Conference Final.

Yet the Hurricanes are struggling with the sport’s most basic task: putting pucks in the net.

Carolina has managed just three goals in 103 shots on Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky in falling into an 0-2 series hole. They next visit the Panthers for Monday’s Game 3.

“You have to be careful not to blow everything up and think it’s not working,” Brind’Amour said Sunday. “We’ll tweak things here and there. But we’ve come this far, we’re not going to be suddenly changing our game.”

How will Rod Brind'Amour and the Hurricanes respond in Game 3?Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

“It comes down to just whenever you have a chance, you want to have a quality shot and obviously it has to be a pretty good shot to beat [Bobrovsky},” forward Martin Necas said.

The Hurricanes finished with the league’s second-best regular-season record behind an aggressive forecheck to win puck battles, maintain possession in the opponent’s end and generate scoring chances. They’ve been able to do that for stretches, notably with a strong third period in Game 1.

Carolina outshot Florida in each game and is at plus-17 in the series, even while converting just 2.9 percent of its shots into goals. And the Hurricanes have had their own chances at OT winners, from Seth Jarvis hitting the crossbar in the first overtime of Game 1 to Bobrovsky’s in-close stop on captain Jordan Staal early in OT during Game 2.


But close doesn’t count.