The Dallas Stars are feeling a sense of deja vu.
For the third straight series this postseason, the Stars find themselves in a 1-0 hole. And for the third straight series, they dropped the opener in overtime.
This time it was Brett Howden of the Golden Knights who scored the winner at 1:35 of overtime to hand the Stars a 4-3 defeat in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Friday at T-Mobile Arena.
Game 2 is noon Sunday at T-Mobile Arena.
“You always love to get that first game, but that’s just the way it is,” Stars forward Jason Robertson said. “I know we have confidence in us to respond. It’s a little bit different on the road now. We have the same group. We can generate our own energy. I know a lot of players on our team think that they can do better, and we’re going to try to do that and bring our ‘A’ game next game.”
The Stars fell to 0-3 in overtime during the playoffs, with each of their losses coming at the start of the series.
They lost 3-2 in double overtime at home to Minnesota in the first round, then bounced back for a 7-3 win in Game 2 and went on to win the series in six games.
In Game 1 against the Seattle Kraken in the second round, Dallas rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period, but lost 5-4 when Yanni Gourde scored at 12:17 of overtime for the visitors. The Stars responded in Game 2 with a 4-2 victory and won the series in seven games.
“The good news is the other two ended the right way, so that’s what we’ll hope for,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “But you’ve got to win some overtime games, too, in the playoffs. You can’t go 0-for-3, 0-for-4 in the playoffs in overtime. That’s something that we’ve got to get fixed quickly.”
Dallas continued its habit of starting Game 1s slowly, but went ahead late in the first period when a clearing attempt by Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo took a funny bounce off the boards near the Zamboni doors and went to Roope Hintz in the slot. His shot was deflected by Robertson for his first goal in nine games.
However, the Stars were unable to build on the lead and spent the majority of the third period chasing the game after William Karlsson’s second goal put the Knights ahead.
Dallas trailed 2-1 and 3-2 in the third, but pushed the game into overtime when Jamie Benn jammed home a loose puck with 1:59 remaining in regulation. The momentum didn’t carry over, and Howden banked the puck off goalie Jake Oettinger from below the goal line for the winner.
Robertson finished with a goal and an assist, while Hintz added a goal and two assists to take over the league lead in playoff scoring with 22 points.
“The previous series we have learned a lot from the first game, and we’ve got to do the same thing right now,” Hintz said. “The biggest thing for us is to show that we’re here to play from the start and go from there.”