DALLAS – Joe Pavelski’s first home playoff game for the Dallas Stars was memorable.
The 37-year-old veteran scored both the tying and game-winning goals for the Stars in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames to take a 2-1 lead in their playoff series.
“First game here in Dallas in front of these fans in the playoffs, it lived up to it,” Pavelski said. “I had only heard good things. Delighted to get this win and take another step.”
Radek Faska also scored and Roope Hintz added an empty-netter, while Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger stopped 39 shots before a sale of 18,532 at American Airlines Center.
Trevor Lewis and Elias Lindholm replied for the Flames as Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 of 31 shots in the Calgary net.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven affair is Monday in Dallas before returning to Calgary for Game 5 on Wednesday.
If necessary, Game 6 will take place on Friday in Dallas and a Game 7 will take place on Sunday in Calgary.
After signing Pavelski in 2019, the Stars didn’t have a home playoff game until Saturday.
Dallas reached the Stanley Cup Finals in Edmonton’s 2020 playoff bubble where they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Stars missed the playoffs last year.
The Flames (50-21-11) topped the Pacific Division and the Stars (46-30-6) earned the top wildcard spot in the Western Conference.
Calgary opened the conference quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory before losing 2-0 to the Stars at the Saddledome.
When a best-of-seven series is tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 holds an all-time series record of 228-110 (.675), according to NHL statisticians.
“Win a game, we’re back on the ice at home and that’s the goal here,” Flames forward Blake Coleman said. “There is no panic in our room.”
Pavelski scored his second of the game and the first power-play goal of the series for the Stars — after going 0 for 11 — at 10:05 of the third period for the go-ahead goal.
According to the Stars, his 14th career playoff game is the most among active NHL players.
“He’s always around the net. He knows there’s a time to get there,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said. “There’s a timing that anticipates the shot. He’s got it all figured out.
“Sometimes when you’re not on the power play you get a little tense. Our guys were a little tight. I think that goal tonight is going to really help us.”
With Coleman in the box for putting his stick on Pavelski’s arm, the latter grabbed a rebound on a shot from Vladislav Namestnikov for his third goal of the series.
“Penalty with seven minutes left, you can’t take it,” Coleman said.
Oettinger blocked Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau on a breakaway with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
“Close and close games,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said. “Escape with about two or three minutes to go. Guy has to put it away. Their job.”
Pavelski equalized the hosts at 11:41 of the second period.
After Markstrom’s huge glove save on Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen, Pavelski collected a rebound on a later Heiskanen shot by Markstrom caught at his right post.
“You see the puck coming, you try to break free and you feel like you’re being left out, so you just try to get to the next space,” Pavelski said.
“It’s good when the pucks are there for you and you have space to work with them.”
The Stars continued to give the Flames little space in front of Oettinger and force the shooters on the outside, although Calgary’s first goal scored by Lewis came at close range.
The Flames were both more responsible with the puck and more physically with the Stars in Game 2, but goals remained rare in the playoffs from a team that ranked sixth in the NHL in that department.
“We just have to dig a little deeper and find out what we’re made of and hit those second and third efforts,” Lewis said.
“Go to the net and get those fat goals.”
Calgary was leading 2-1 at 3:40 of the second period when Lindholm capped off a tic-tac-toe passing streak from Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk with a one-timer shot.
Lewis banged in a rebound from Oettinger’s gate after a Milan Lucic effort there at 13:45 of the first period. Bowness was denied a goalkeeper interference challenge by Lucic.
Faksa scored a 4-for-4 goal for the Stars at 9:21 of the first period. Dallas and Calgary have gone eight minutes 4-on-4 in back-to-back games.
“We have to find a way to finish,” Coleman said. “The strength of our game is five-on-five and we’ve spent too much time with four-on-four hockey.”
Tkachuk and Stars defenseman John Klingberg continued their running feud in the series with a fight 82 seconds into the opening faceoff.
They got tangled and took minors coincidentally less than a minute into Game 2.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 7, 2022.