DALLAS (AP) — Jonathan Marchessault scored the first of three quick goals for Vegas, an early onslaught that knocked Jake Oettinger out of the game after captain Jamie Benn had already been ejected, and the Golden Knights went on for a 4-0 win in Game 3 that has them within one victory of reaching another Stanley Cup Final.
While Oettinger had the shortest start of his career, Vegas goalie Adin Hill stopped 33 shots in his second shutout this postseason.
After four consecutive comeback victories in these playoffs, including two overtime wins at home to start the Western Conference final, the Golden Knights were in control all of the way in this one to take a 3-0 series lead.
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 only time last season, before coach Pete DeBoer was fired before becoming the Stars coach.
Marchessault scored only 71 seconds into the game, and 42 seconds after that Benn was assessed a game misconduct for an ugly play against Vegas captain Mark Stone.
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.
Just before Benn’s early exit, he had a wrister that was stopped by Hill but was initially still loose under the goalie as Benn tried to get his stick back on it.
Ivan Barbashev, who later had two assists, scored during the power play after Benn’s penalty. That was one of only three shots the Knights got on net during the five-minute penalty.
Dallas had two short-handed attempts, but when Ty Dellandrea’s try was blocked, Nicolas Roy took the rebound the other way and passed to Barbashev for a 30-foot wrister that made it 2-0.
Oettinger was pulled and replaced by Scott Wedgewood after William Carrier’s backhander made it 3-0 with 12:50 left in the first period.
It was the shortest start ever for Oettinger, who has now lost three starts in a row. He has lost four of five, the win being when he had 22 saves for the Stars in their 2-1 win in Game 7 of Western semifinal against Seattle.
Wedgewood stopped 10 of 11 shots, with Alex Pietrangelo’s goal midway through the second period, just a second after the end of a power play as Miro Heiskanen was coming out of the penalty box.
Stars center Max Domi got a game misconduct with 21 seconds left in the second period. After his cross-check against Nicolas Hague, Domi started throwing punches.
Fans in the arena reacted to the ensuing penalty by throwing water bottles, food and other items on the ice. With extended time needed to clean up the playing surface, officials sent both teams to their locker rooms early for the second intermission with the Knights up 4-0.
Those final 21 seconds were played after the intermission before the clock was reset to 20 minutes for the third period.
NOTES: Stars forward Evegenii Dadonov left with a lower body injury in the first period and never returned. … It was the first Western Conference Final game in Dallas since May 19, 2008, when the Stars lost to Detroit in a decisive sixth game.
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Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press