DALLAS (AP) Ryan Hartman had just circled around the net when a deflected puck came toward him. He quickly scored to give the Minnesota Wild a victory in their playoff opener - a game that began Monday night and dragged into early Tuesday morning.
Hartman gathered the puck and skated in front of the crease before lifting it over the extended left leg of Jake Oettinger at 1 a.m. local time, giving the Wild a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars in a more than four-hour marathon in which both 24-year-old goalies had spectacular performances.
“Their goalie was fantastic, our goalie was fantastic,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “Some of the saves that both of them made were, it feels like nobody is going to score, right?”
The game-winner came after Stars defenseman Thomas Harley had knocked the puck toward the corner, but Colin Miller was unable to clear it. The puck instead ricocheted off Sam Steel's stick and toward Hartman.
“Just a bounce that went their way," Oettinger said. “We had a couple that didn’t go our way and that’s hockey. ... Tight game and two good teams, and it’s going to be a heck of a series.”
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Dallas.
The Stars had just been turned away on a power play after Frederick Gaudreau's tripping penalty against captain Jamie Benn 9:11 into that second overtime. Roope Hintz, who scored on a power play in the second period, hit the post and there were several other chances before the penalty expired.
Filip Gustavsson stopped 52 shots for the Wild, including 12 in the third period and 17 in the first overtime. He started Game 1 ahead of three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-André Fleury after the goalie tandem had split games throughout most of the season.
Oettinger had 45 saves for the Stars in his first playoff game since a 64-save performance in Game 7 in the first round last May when top-seeded Calgary scored the series clincher in overtime.
Veteran Stars center Joe Pavelski left the game midway through the second period after a massive hit from Matt Dumba, who was only assessed a minor roughing penalty. Referees had initially called it a five-minute major, but changed it after a lengthy replay review.
The Stars said the 38-year-old Pavelski was doing OK afterwards, but his status for the next game was uncertain.
“I’m not confident for Game 2,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “He’s okay, he’s walking out of the rink on his own OK.”
Another playoff hit Pavelski took in 2019, when still with San Jose, helped lead the NHL to expand its video review process to allow referees to review major penalties and gave them the option to reduce them to a minor, as happened on the hit by Dumba.
“To be honest, I thought it was a clean hit,” Dumba said. “Shoulder on shoulder. I don’t even know why I got the roughing, probably because I was just in the box already.”
Hintz and Jason Robertson, who in the regular season was Dallas’ first 100-point scorer, had power-play goals just over two minutes apart for the Stars in the middle of the second period for a 2-1 lead.
Steel tied the game with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the second period. His wrister came right after he had won a faceoff in the defensive end and then blocked a shot by Robertson.
Kirill Kaprizov had a power-play goal for the Wild in the final minute of the first period. He was right in front of the net and Oettinger for a nifty deflection of captain Jared Spurgeon’s shot.
Gustav Nyquist, who got the assist on Steel’s goal, had a 50-foot shot about 5 minutes into the game that got past Oettinger, nicking off the goalie's glove and ricocheting off the right post.
Gustavsson also had some pucks behind him that didn’t get into the net. In one rapid-fire sequence about five minutes into the third period, the Stars had two shots on goal, another puck that went wide and another that hit the post when fans were already cheering what they thought was a goal.
Hintz scored from above the middle of the circles only three seconds after getting the puck off Benn’s faceoff win to start the Stars’ first power play. Benn took the faceoff after Pavelski got kicked out of the circle to start the first power play.
It took the Stars twice as long to score - all of six seconds - on their next power play. Pavelski won the faceoff, with Miro Heiskanen getting the puck before he dropped it to Robertson for a laser shot through traffic.
The Stars then killed off two power plays, the second on a tripping penalty against Pavelski, which came about five minutes before he was taken out by Dumba’s big blow.
While Pavleski remained down on the ice, Stars teammate Max Domi went after Dumba and threw a couple of hard punches before they ended up in a pile on the ice, with referees and Kaprizov also on top of them. Kaprizov was eventually pulled back by a teammate, and Domi got a 10-minute misconduct.
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