Jason Robertson has struggled early in his career to carry his goal-scoring touch from the regular season into the playoffs.
But with the Dallas Stars’ season on the line Thursday, Robertson delivered.
The 23-year-old winger scored twice to help the Stars stave off elimination and beat the Golden Knights 3-2 in overtime in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Joe Pavelski potted the winner for Dallas at 3:18 of overtime, sending the series to Game 5 on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
“We’re looking for goals, and that’s kind of my responsibility I put on myself,” Robertson said. “I know these playoffs have been tough, but I play on too good of a line not to create chances and opportunities. I was able to get the bounces that we needed tonight.”
Playing without captain Jamie Benn, who was suspended two games for cross-checking Knights forward Mark Stone in Game 3, the Stars showed desperation and improved to 1-4 in overtime this postseason.
Robertson led the way, as each of his goals tied the score after Dallas fell behind 1-0 and 2-1.
He finished with a game-high 11 shots on goal and 14 shot attempts.
“We talked at the beginning of the series, he’s going to have to start to score,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “When he gets hot, he’s capable of scoring every night. He looks like he’s feeling it right now. We want to keep him that way.”
A second-round pick in 2017, Robertson had one goal in the playoffs last season when the Stars were bounced by Calgary in seven games.
He produced a team-leading 46 goals and 109 points during the regular season, but went eight games without a goal before scoring against the Knights in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1.
On Thursday, Robertson tallied his third goal in four games in the first period when he batted the puck out of midair for a power-play goal after Knights center William Karlsson opened the scoring. That ended Dallas’ scoreless streak of 106:21.
“It’s nice to see it finally go in,” Robertson said. “You work for those bounces. I’ve been working really hard, so I want to continue that.”
Late in the second period, Robertson buried the rebound when Esa Lindell’s drive from the point bounced off the boards behind the net. The goal came moments after Robertson hit the post.
Robertson has six goals in 17 playoff games and has four of his team’s eight goals in this series.
He is the 10th player in Dallas Stars history with a multigoal game when facing elimination and the first since Corey Perry in Game 5 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
“We’ll see where this goes,” Pavelski said. “We’ll look to do it again and try to put a little doubt in their minds.”