In a game where defense was thrown out the window, the Stars – somehow, someway – came away with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Center on Thursday.
It was a game the Stars couldn’t afford to lose for multiple reasons. Mired in a three-game losing streak and coming off a rough 4-0 defeat in Toronto on Tuesday, the Stars had fallen out of a playoff spot. The Canadiens, at 16-36-8, beat the Stars in the series opener in Dallas two months ago. Against a team with that kind of record, anything short of two points would be a serious letdown for a Stars squad with postseason aspirations.
In desperate need of an equalizer, the Stars were led by one of their leaders in the clutch.
John Klingberg, who’d be the first to admit the season hasn’t gone the way he’s hoped, scored two enormous goals to earn Dallas not one, but two points. Trailing 3-2, he scored the game-tying goal with 4:46 remaining in the third period. Then, with 10 seconds left in overtime, he followed up his own rebound with the game winner.
Video: DAL@MTL: Klingberg follows up own shot, nets his 2nd
The victory vaulted the Stars into the second wild card spot for the time being, one point ahead of Vegas, who hosted Florida later that night. Dallas will wake up Friday morning with four games still in hand on the Golden Knights.
It was part of a three-point night for Klingberg, who skated in a game-high 29:06 and led everyone with six shots on goal. He doubled his goal total on the season in a span of about five minutes.
At the other end of the ice was Jake Oettinger, who reached the 20-win mark in just his second NHL season. It was a spectacular performance for the 23-year-old netminder, who made 28 saves on 31 shots. He was outstanding every step of the way, but especially late in the third period and into overtime when the Canadiens had a full two-minute power play. But his best stop of the night came in the first period when he robbed Mike Hoffman with his right pad.
Video: DAL@MTL: Oettinger stones Hoffman on backdoor
After a few missed chances from both teams, the Stars jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a goal from one of the players that needed it most.
Radek Faksa opened the scoring with his first goal in 40 games, a tap-in at the left post that gave the Stars a 1-0 lead with 1:27 remaining in the opening frame.
Video: DAL@MTL: Faksa tallies his 3rd, chips it off Allen
Montreal evened the score midway through the second period when Cole Caufield buried a one-timer seven seconds into a power play.
Jamie Bennwho earned the primary helper on Klingberg’s game winner, reclaimed the lead for Dallas at the 15:51 mark of the middle frame when That Lindell‘s shot from the slot caromed off the end boards and onto the captain’s stick at the right post. It marked Benn’s 15th goal of the season and his first of three points on the night.
Video: DAL@MTL: Benn regains lead from side of net
Nick Suzuki tied it with a nifty goal in tight at the 8:52 mark of the third period, his 17th of the season.
Montreal took the lead with seven minutes remaining in the third period when Corey Schueneman scored his first NHL goal to put the Habs up 3-2.
From there, Klingberg took over, scoring twice – once to tie it late in the third period and again in the closing seconds of overtime.
Video: DAL@MTL: Klingberg scores on rush after drop pass
The Stars will continue their four-game road trip Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Kyle Shōhara is the Digital Manager for DallasStars.com and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @kyleshohara.