NHL News

Panthers, Knights owners pledge $100K to veterans groups

Panthers, Knights owners pledge $100K to veterans groups

The owners of the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers are teaming to donate $100,000 to organizations serving veterans at the end of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final.

The best-of-seven series between the clubs begins Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Knights owner Bill Foley and his counterpart, Vincent Viola, announced their donation on Saturday. Both are graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Foley went on to serve in the Air Force and Viola in the Army.

The owners chose the organizations that will receive the donation from the other owner. As a result, Viola and the Panthers will contribute to The Folded Flag Foundation, while Foley and the Knights will send a check to Gold Star Teen Adventures.

Both nonprofits focus on the children and families of deceased military and law enforcement personnel.

Reports: Blue Jackets hiring Mike Babcock as coach

Reports: Blue Jackets hiring Mike Babcock as coach

The Columbus Blue Jackets plan to name Stanley Cup winner Mike Babcock as their new head coach, Sportsnet reported Saturday.

The hire will become official when Babcock's contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs expires at the end of June, per the report.

The Blue Jackets fired Brad Larsen on April 15 after finishing last in the Eastern Conference at 25-48-9 (59 points).

Babcock, 60, has not coached in the NHL since being fired by Toronto in November 2019. His eight-year contract finishes at the end of this month.

He coached Detroit to a 2008 Stanley Cup championship and also reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Red Wings in 2009 and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

His NHL coaching career includes 700 wins in 1,301 regular season games with the Ducks (2002-04), Red Wings (2005-15) and Maple Leafs (2015-19).

He also coached Canada to gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2004 world championships.

Babcock coached the men's hockey team at the University of Saskatchewan during the 2021-22 season.

Golden Knights, Panthers clash in pursuit of first Stanley Cup title

Golden Knights, Panthers clash in pursuit of first Stanley Cup title

During a gathering of about 5,000 fans to reveal his new team's nickname and logo outside T-Mobile Arena in November of 2016, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley made a rather bold prediction.

When asked by the emcee how long it would take his expansion franchise to lift the Stanley Cup, Foley replied, "I did say seven years, but it should be six years now. Six years."

Vegas, which made a storybook run to the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season in 2018 before losing in five games to the Washington Capitals, has one last chance to make Foley look like a prophet.

The Golden Knights face this year's Cinderella team of the playoffs, the Eastern Conference winning Florida Panthers, in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final beginning Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Vegas, which missed making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history a year ago, rebounded to post a Western Conference-best 111 points while winning the Pacific Division title. The Golden Knights then disposed of the Winnipeg Jets in five games in Round 1, took down Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in six games in Round 2 and defeated the Dallas Stars in six games in the Western Conference finals.

Florida, which finished tied for just 17th overall in the NHL in points with 92, has won 11 of its last 12 games, including seven in a row by one goal, behind the play of Conn Smythe Trophy frontrunners Matthew Tkachuk (21 points, nine goals, four game-winners) and Sergei Bobrovsky (11-2, .935 save percentage).

The Panthers -- back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996 when they were swept in four games by the Joe Sakic-led Colorado Avalanche -- rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to stun the record-setting and top-seeded Boston Bruins in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Florida followed that up with a 4-1 series win over Toronto in Round 2 and swept the Carolina Hurricanes in four games in the Eastern final.

Florida will have had nine days off since their series-clinching 4-3 win over Carolina on May 24 while Vegas has had just a four-day break since their 6-0 clincher at Dallas on Monday. Could the long break cause the Panthers to lose their momentum and be a little rusty heading into Game 1?

"None of the things that you would have normally wanted to have happen has happened to us and they all turned out good, so be careful what you wish for," Florida coach Paul Maurice said. "So we've just decided not to wish for anything, just take what it is. ... It's a big block of time off and how do you stay sharp, but I would take the rest over worrying about how sharp we're going to be in Game 1."

Vegas has relied on a strong defense led by past Stanley Cup winners Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis) and Alec Martinez (two with Los Angeles). It also has a solid group of veteran forwards that includes William Karlsson (team-high 10 goals), ex-Panther Jonathan Marchessault (nine goals in the last 10 games) and Jack Eichel (18 points, six goals).

Eichel, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, is taking part in the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. He brings a seven-game goal drought into the Final but has impressed with his all-around play.

"It's a great opportunity for our group," Eichel said. "Everybody wants a chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final and to compete for the ultimate goal."

The Golden Knights, who used five different goaltenders because of injuries during the season, have also gotten surprisingly good play from Adin Hill in net. Hill, who took over for injured Laurent Brossoit in Game 3 of the second round against Edmonton, is 7-3 with a .937 save percentage and two shutouts.

"He's been great," Marchessault said. "He's given us a chance to win every night. At (this) time of the year, if you don't have a good goalie, I don't think you go through."

Marchessault was asked about Foley's prediction of winning a Stanley Cup in six years.

"Bill's a smart man, right?" Marchessault said with a smile. "He's done a lot of good things in his life. We'll see how it turns out."

Canadiens' Michael Pezzetta signs 2-year extension

Canadiens' Michael Pezzetta signs 2-year extension

Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta signed a two-year, $1.625 million contract extension on Friday that spans through the 2024-25 season.

Pezzetta, 25, was set to be a restricted free agent on July 1.

He recorded 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) and a team-high 239 hits in 63 games this season.

Pezzetta has totaled 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 114 career games since being selected by the Canadiens in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Patrick Kane out 4-6 months after hip resurfacing

Patrick Kane out 4-6 months after hip resurfacing

Free agent forward Patrick Kane will be shelved 4-to-6 months after undergoing a hip resurfacing procedure, his agent said Thursday.

Pat Brisson told reporters that Kane had the surgery Thursday and that the 34-year-old still "wants to play for a long time."

Kane played out the final 19 games of an eight-year, $84 million deal with the New York Rangers last season. The Rangers acquired Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 28. Kane had played all 1,161 games in a Blackhawks sweater prior to the trade.

Kane tallied 12 points for the Rangers and just 57 overall, his lowest output since 2012-13. Kane is a nine-time All-Star and three-time Stanley Cup winner, all with the Blackhawks, who selected him No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft.

Kane has also won the Calder, Smythe, Hart, Pearson and Ross trophies in his career. He won the Hart as MVP of the 2015-16 season.

He has 1,237 points (451 goals, 786 assists) in his 16-year career.

Hip resurfacing is an alternative to hip replacement. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "the femoral head is not removed, but is instead trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering" in hip resurfacing.

Penguins name Kyle Dubas president

Penguins name Kyle Dubas president

The Pittsburgh Penguins tabbed Kyle Dubas as president of hockey operations on Thursday, less than two weeks after the Toronto Maple Leafs moved on from him.

Dubas, 37, will oversee all aspects of the hockey operations department. The Penguins fired general manager Ron Hextall, director of hockey operations Brian Burke and assistant GM Chris Pryor in April.

"On behalf of my family, we are thrilled to join the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and all of the incredible people across Fenway Sports Group," Dubas said in a statement. "I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity that lies ahead of me. ... Everyone has demonstrated a clear commitment to building a best-in-class hockey operation."

The move comes one day after the Maple Leafs replaced Dubas with Brad Treliving.

Dubas spent the previous nine seasons with the Maple Leafs, including the last five as GM. He became the second-youngest GM in NHL history at age 32 when he was hired for the post in 2018.

Pittsburgh's front-office shakeup came after the Penguins missed the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, ending the longest active postseason streak in major North American professional sports.

During Dubas' five seasons as general manager of the Maple Leafs, the team compiled a regular-season record of 221-109-42 with a .651 points percentage, ranking fifth in the league in wins and points percentage.

Dubas had previously said he'd either be with the Maple Leafs or nowhere for the 2023-24 season. His contract was set to expire at the end of June in Toronto.

"You won't see me next week popping up elsewhere," he said two weeks ago.

Kraken give GM Ron Francis 3-year extension

Kraken give GM Ron Francis 3-year extension

The Seattle Kraken signed general manager Ron Francis to a three-year contract extension Wednesday, two weeks removed from a stirring run to the second round of the playoffs in just their second season.

Francis, 60, now is signed through the 2026-27 season. Financial terms were not released by the club.

"Ron has done remarkable work over the last four years and deserves this recognition," Seattle co-owner Samantha Holloway said. "He has built a tremendous team, putting Seattle hockey on the map. He is building for long-term success and is dedicated to our city, our fans and our community."

The Kraken lost in Game 7 to the Dallas Stars on May 15 after completing a 46-28-8 mark in the regular season. The Kraken knocked off defending champion Colorado in the first round.

The Kraken went 27-49-6 in their expansion season.

Report: Brad Treliving to be hired as Maple Leafs GM

Report: Brad Treliving to be hired as Maple Leafs GM

The Toronto Maple Leafs plan to hire Brad Treliving as their next general manager, TSN reported on Wednesday.

Treliving, 53, effectively would replace Kyle Dubas at the post. The Maple Leafs informed Dubas that his contract would not be renewed when it expires on June 30.

The Flames parted ways with Treliving in April after nine seasons as their general manager. Calgary reached the postseason on five occasions during that time, however it advanced past the first round on just two occasions.

Treliving also previously served as an assistant general manager with the Arizona Coyotes.

Dubas spent the past five seasons as general manager of the Maple Leafs. Toronto opted to move on from Dubas after the team was eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Florida Panthers in five games.

Dubas, 37, joined the franchise in 2014 as assistant general manager, and he concurrently served as GM of the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He was promoted to Maple Leafs GM in 2018.

Toronto finished more than 10 games above .500 in each of his campaigns.

The Maple Leafs logged 111 points this season, fourth best in the Eastern Conference. Toronto finally won a playoff series for the first time since 2003-04 by eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning before the loss to the Panthers.

Andrew Brunette excited to come 'full circle' with Predators

Andrew Brunette excited to come 'full circle' with Predators

The Nashville Predators named Andrew Brunette as the fourth head coach in franchise history on Wednesday.

Brunette, 49, takes the place of John Hynes, who officially was relieved of his duties on Tuesday.

Brunette, who scored the first goal in Predators' franchise history, spent this season as an associate coach with the New Jersey Devils. He was an interim coach with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22 and finished as the runner-up for the Jack Adams Award, presented to the NHL's top coach.

"When I look at our roster and those in our system, we have a lot of fast, skilled players and we will likely select more of those types of players in this year's draft," Predators incoming general manager Barry Trotz said.

"We want to become more of an offensive team and Andrew specializes on that side of the ice -- he lived it as a player, and he coaches it as a coach. He is as good of an offensive teacher and power-play coach as there is in the game today. He will be great with our young players, and I know, because of his background as a player, he will connect well with our top, skilled players. At the end of the day, he is a good person who looks forward to working in partnership with our players to make them, and our team, better. I can't wait to get in the foxhole with him."

Brunette shared Trotz's enthusiasm about the team's prospects for success.

"I am super-excited to be back in Nashville and a part of the Predators organization," Brunette said. "I feel like this is coming full circle for my career -- from pulling on the jersey for the first time 25 years ago to returning now to take care of some unfinished business. It has been awesome to see how this city and its fanbase have grown since I played here and I look forward to continuing the legacy and the culture behind the bench that Barry cultivated that inaugural season."

Outgoing Predators president of hockey operations/general manager David Poile approved of the way Trotz went about the head coaching process.

"I want to applaud and congratulate Barry for his methodical approach to evaluating our head coaching position and his ultimate decision to name Andrew as the next head coach of the Nashville Predators," Poile said. "As we transition the general manager's position from my hands to Barry's, it was important for me and our organization to let Barry decide what is best for the franchise moving forward. I like and agree with the selection of Andrew Brunette, but perhaps most importantly, I think Barry's process and diligence in making that hire was excellent -- one more reason I know he is right to be our next general manager."

Hynes, 48, spent four seasons as coach in Nashville, totaling a 134-96-18 record. The Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season after finishing with a 42-32-8 mark in 2022-23.

He also spent five seasons as head coach of the New Jersey Devils, posting a 150-159-45 record.

Report: Andrew Brunette to replace John Hynes as Preds' coach

Report: Andrew Brunette to replace John Hynes as Preds' coach

The Nashville Predators are parting ways with John Hynes and naming Andrew Brunette as their new head coach, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

The Predators reportedly are expected to announce the move later on Tuesday.

Hynes, 48, spent four seasons as coach in Nashville, totaling a 134-96-18 record. The Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season after finishing with a 42-32-8 mark in 2022-23.

He also spent five seasons as head coach of the New Jersey Devils, posting a 150-159-45 record.

Brunette, who scored the first goal in Predators' franchise history, spent this season as an associate coach with the Devils. He was an interim coach with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22 and finished as the runner-up for the Jack Adams Award, presented to the NHL's top coach.

Florida finished 51-18-6 after Brunette replaced Joel Quenneville, who resigned on Oct. 28, 2021.

Brunette, 49, wasn't brought back after the team fell in the second round to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Reports: Capitals to tab Spencer Carbery as next coach

Reports: Capitals to tab Spencer Carbery as next coach

The Washington Capitals are expected to hire Spencer Carbery as their new head coach, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Carbery has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He formerly was the head coach of the Hershey Bears -- the Capitals' American Hockey League affiliate -- from 2018-21.

Carbery, 41, also played for the East Coast Hockey League's South Carolina Stingrays in 2010. The Stingrays are the current affiliate of Washington.

The Capitals parted ways with head coach Peter Laviolette and assistants Kevin McCarthy and Blaine Forsythe last month.

Washington missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2013-14, ending an eight-year streak of making the postseason. Laviolette's teams went 115-78-27 in his three-year stay, including a 35-37-10 mark in 2022-23.

Knights thrash Stars in Game 6, seal finals berth

Knights thrash Stars in Game 6, seal finals berth

The Vegas Golden Knights are off to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history after closing out the Western Conference finals with a 6-0 road victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 on Monday.

William Karlsson scored twice in a three-point game while William Carrier, Keegan Kolesar and Michael Amadio all collected one goal and one assist for Vegas, which won the best-of-seven series 4-2.

The Golden Knights will face the Florida Panthers in the finals beginning on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Jonathan Marchessault scored once, Reilly Smith had two assists and goalie Adin Hill made 23 saves to record his second playoff shutout for Vegas.

The Golden Knights lost to the Washington Capitals in the championship round in their inaugural 2017-18 season.

Vegas was also the Western Conference's regular-season champions. Florida claimed the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Jake Oettinger stopped 23 shots for the Stars, who lost the first three games of the series before winning twice in a comeback attempt that fell short and ended with a thud.

Dallas won both games without captain Jamie Benn in the lineup and lost all four with him, including the clinching contest after he returned from a two-game suspension.

Coming off those two losses, the Golden Knights were looking for a quick start to regain momentum. They received a jolt when Carrier opened the scoring at the 3:41 mark of the first period, taking advantage of a Dallas turnover for his second goal of the playoffs.

Karlsson doubled the lead on the power play just past the midway point of the first period when he converted a rebound.

Kolesar capped his team's dominant first period by combining with Carrier on a two-on-two rush to net his first goal in 14 games with six minutes left in the frame.

Dallas showed life after the first intermission, but Marchessault tallied his ninth goal of the playoffs -- all in the past 10 games -- to make it a 4-0 game at 10:25 of the second period. The red-hot forward outraced a defender and converted a backhand set up by Ivan Barbashev. It was his team's first shot of the period.

Karlsson quashed any Dallas comeback hopes when he netted his 10th goal of the playoffs 2:06 into the third period, and Amadio rounded out the scoring at 12:25.

Pressure is on Vegas to finish Stars in Game 6

Pressure is on Vegas to finish Stars in Game 6

Only a few days ago, a trip to the Stanley Cup Final appeared to be a fait accompli for the Vegas Golden Knights, who held a three-games-to-none lead over the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals.

But now the Golden Knights head into Monday's Game 6 in Dallas needing to close out the best-of-seven series or face returning home for a deciding game amid a three-game losing streak.

The pressure is indeed on the Golden Knights, who lead the series 3-2 after suffering a 4-2 home loss Saturday night.

"There is pressure on both teams to try and make the Stanley Cup Final," insisted Vegas captain Mark Stone. "Game 6 is on Monday night and we're going there to win it."

Before the puck dropped on the series, prognostications of a six- or seven-game series were typical. A sweep would have been shocking.

After Vegas won the first two games in overtime and added to that edge with a 4-0 win in Game 3, the Golden Knights led each of the last two contests 2-1 in the second period, only to have the Stars roar back to win.

"I don't think we've brought our best the last two games, but we were still in a good spot to win the game," Stone said.

Saturday in Las Vegas, the Knights scored first on Ivan Barbashev's goal 13:36 into the action, but the lead lasted less than two minutes before Luke Glendening tied it for Dallas. Chandler Stephenson put Vegas back on top 3:20 into the second, but again, the Stars responded within two minutes - this time when Jason Robertson quieted the crowd.

Ty Dellandrea scored twice in the third period to send Dallas back home for Game 6.

Vegas coach Bruce Cassady said his team "should know the level of urgency it takes to get to the next phase, which is the Final. To me, there is a little bit of us pushing one another."

Just as the Golden Knights can look at the past two games as ones they could have won, the Stars have every right to believe they could be ahead had a couple bounces gone their way in the first two clashes.

"I know our group, and we weren't happy about being in the hole we were in, and they've decided to do something about it," coach Peter DeBoer said. "And now we're rolling."

The Stars, who will have captain Jamie Benn back in the lineup after he served a two-game suspension, are trying to become the fifth team in league history to capture a series - and the first in nearly a decade -- after losing the first three games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs achieved that feat in the 1942 finals against the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Islanders rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 quarterfinals, the Philadelphia Flyers did it in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins, and the Los Angeles Kings pulled it off in the 2014 Western Conference first round against the San Jose Sharks.

As much as the Stars have momentum, hockey history is filled with teams that won a couple of games after dropping the first three only to fail taking a series the distance.

"We put ourselves in a really tough spot, and to get to the point where we're at now, it just shows you the type of character that we have in our room and the belief that we have," goalie Jake Oettinger said. "Even being down 3-0, that this series was far from over.

"We've done our job up to this point, but unfortunately for us, our backs are still against the wall."

Ty Dellandrea's first multi-goal game keeps Stars alive vs. Knights

Ty Dellandrea's first multi-goal game keeps Stars alive vs. Knights

Ty Dellandrea scored twice in an 87-second span midway through the third period and the Dallas Stars staved off elimination for the second straight game with a 4-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

It was the first multi-goal goal of Dellandrea's career. Jake Oettinger stopped 27 of 29 shots, Jason Robertson and Luke Glendening scored goals and Thomas Harley added two assists for Dallas, which still trails the best-of-seven series 3-2. Game 6 is Monday night in Dallas.

Chandler Stephenson and Ivan Barbashev scored goals and Jonathan Marchessault assisted on both for Vegas. Adin Hill finished with 30 saves.

The game was tied 2-2 entering the third period when Dellandrea gave Dallas its first lead of the game at the 10:35 mark, snapping a wrist shot from the middle of the right circle that deflected off the stick of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and under the glove of Hill.

Dellandrea then made it 4-2 with 7:58 left when he rifled in a rebound of a Max Domi shot from the low slot.

Vegas nearly cut the deficit in half when Alec Martinez blasted a shot off the goalpost with just over five minutes remaining, and the Golden Knights pulled Hill with 3:17 to play. Vegas attempted seven shots with the extra attacker but six were blocked and Oettinger easily saved the other, a wrist shot by Jack Eichel.

Vegas took a 1-0 lead at the 13:36 mark of the first period when Barbashev scooped up a loose puck by the right boards and powered toward the net, where he swept a shot around Oettinger's right pad for his sixth goal of the playoffs.

But Dallas needed just 1:48 to tie it on Glendening's second goal of the playoffs, bouncing a deflection of a Harley point shot past Hill's right pad.

The Golden Knights regained the lead at 2-1 early in the second period when Stephenson, left alone in the left circle during a line change, took a crossing pass from Shea Theodore and roofed a wrist shot into the far corner for his eighth goal of the playoffs.

The Stars needed a little over two minutes to tie it again when Robertson chipped in a rebound of his own shot from the slot over Hill's left shoulder from the bottom of the left circle for his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs.

Stars still alive, out to narrow deficit vs. Golden Knights

Stars still alive, out to narrow deficit vs. Golden Knights

Thanks to Joe Pavelski's record-setting power-play goal in overtime, the Dallas Stars staved off elimination in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.

But there's still a long road -- make that a very long road -- for Peter DeBoer's squad to maneuver if they hope to join the Florida Panthers in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. Their best-of-seven series returns to Las Vegas for Game 5 on Saturday night.

Teams that hold a 3-0 series lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series, as Vegas did entering Thursday's loss, own an all-time record of 201-4 (98 percent). That includes 47-0 in the round before the Stanley Cup Final.

So while Pavelski's fourth career overtime goal in the playoffs -- a one-timer from the left circle off Miro Heiskanen's feed -- may have been a feel-good moment for Dallas, there still is a mighty big mountain for the Stars to climb.

"These overtime games are a lot of fun," said Pavelski, who became the oldest player in NHL history (38 years, 318 days) to score an overtime goal in a potential elimination game. "They're a lot more fun when you win them. That's for sure.

"It's a big win. It's a start for us. We know our situation. That's how (Vegas) got it going, with an overtime win (in Game 1). It's nice to get one here and build from there. This is one win. I'm not going to look too much ahead than the next game. There's no reason to."

Vegas won the first two games of the series in Las Vegas by 4-3 and 3-2 scores, both in overtime, before blowing out the Stars 4-0 in Game 3 in Dallas.

The Stars lost captain Jamie Benn to a match major and game misconduct for cross-checking Mark Stone just 1:53 into that loss. Benn was later assessed a two-game suspension for the incident that will also keep him out of Game 5. Forward Evgenii Dadonov suffered a lower-body injury in the first period of that contest and also won't make the trip to Las Vegas.

With the long odds of a series comeback still facing them, it would have been easy to understand if the Stars checked out heading into Game 4. Instead, it was the Golden Knights who were left questioning their effort afterward. The Stars sliced through the Vegas defense for 42 shots and finished with an eye-popping 46-23 edge in hits.

"Our effort level, I don't think it was good enough," said center Jonathan Marchessault, who gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead early in the third period with his eighth goal of the playoffs. "Closing a series is probably the hardest game of the series to win, right? Just not good enough for our group.

"We were trying to play the right way but I think their desperation was higher than ours. At this time of year it's not about X's and O's, it's about who wants it more. And I thought they wanted it more than us."

DeBoer had no such complaints. He was especially happy with the play of goaltender Jake Oettinger, who made 37 saves, including a key point-blank stop of Jack Eichel at the end of a two-on-one break. Oettinger had been pulled after allowing three goals on just five shots in Game 3.

"Great response," DeBoer said. "Jake's been that guy all year. ... I don't think you've seen the best of him yet. We had a great mindset tonight. We had great energy. We had focus. We wanted to take care of business and we did. Now you've got to do it again."

And again. And again.

Joe Pavelski's OT tally beats Knights, keeps Stars alive

Joe Pavelski's OT tally beats Knights, keeps Stars alive

The Dallas Stars weren't ready to pack up their gear, so they will pack their suitcases instead.

The Stars stayed alive in the Western Conference finals when Joe Pavelski scored a power-play goal at 3:18 of overtime to give them a 3-2 win against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 on Thursday night.

The Golden Knights still hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series heading to Game 5 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Vegas won the first two games of the series in overtime at home before rolling to a 4-0 win in Game 3 in Dallas.

"It's a start for us," Pavelski said. "We know our situation, and that's how (Vegas) got it going, with an overtime win."

Dallas defenseman Brayden McNabb was in the penalty box serving his second high-sticking penalty of the game when Pavelski, 38, scored with the one-timer from the left circle.

"These overtime games, they're a lot of fun," Pavelski said. "They're a lot better when you win them, that's for sure."

Jason Robertson scored two goals and Jake Oettinger made 37 saves for the Stars, who had been 0-4 in overtime in the 2023 playoffs. Dallas' Miro Heiskanen and Roope Hintz contributed two assists apiece.

William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored and Adin Hill made 39 saves for Vegas, which had won five in a row.

Karlsson tipped in Reilly Smith's shot off the rush to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead at 4:17 of the first period.

Robertson scored on a power play to tie it 1-1 at 15:42 of the opening period. Robertson's redirection went off Hill and caromed in the air. Hill tried to glove the puck, but Robertson knocked it away with his blade and then batted the puck into the net from waist level.

Hill had stopped 58 consecutive shots dating back to the second period of Game 2.

Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel was stopped on a breakaway with just over 10 minutes left in the second period, but Vegas scored 34 seconds later to take a 2-1 lead. McNabb was just above the goal line when he centered the puck through the crease to Marchessault, who redirected it into the net at 10:23.

Eichel also received an assist on the play, his third of the series.

"He's one of those guys who's easy to play with," Marchessault said of his linemate. "He's a fast, explosive skater. He's great with the puck. He's amazing in the D-zone, and he's one of those guys that's really gifted, so just trying to find him with the puck and get open for him."

Robertson, who took a career-high 11 shots on goal, scored again at 17:21 of the second period to tie it 2-2.

Esa Lindell's point shot was wide of the net, but the rebound banked off the end boards to Robertson, and he backhanded the puck into the open side of net.

Dallas played without team captain Jamie Benn, who was suspended two games for cross-checking Mark Stone in the face after the Vegas forward fell on his back early in Game 3.

The Stars also were without forward Evgenii Dadonov, who sustained a lower-body injury early in the first period of Game 3. Benn and Dadonov had combined for 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in the 15 games before Game 3.

"It's such a fine line this time of year," Pavelski said. "You just have to keep putting your game out there and having the belief you can buy more time."

Stars' Evgenii Dadonov to miss Game 4 vs. Knights

Stars' Evgenii Dadonov to miss Game 4 vs. Knights

Dallas Stars forward Evgenii Dadonov has been ruled out for Thursday's Game 4 of the Western Conference finals versus the visiting Vegas Golden Knights.

Dadonov sustained a lower-body injury early in the first period of Dallas' 4-0 loss to Vegas on Tuesday. The Golden Knights hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

While Stars coach Peter DeBoer announced Dadonov's status for Game 4, he did note that veteran forward Joe Pavelski will play in Thursday's critical game. The status of Pavelski briefly was in question after he failed to participate in the morning skate.

"Just maintenance. He'll be OK," DeBoer said.

Dadonov, 34, has recorded 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the postseason, albeit just one assist in this series.

He totaled 33 points (seven goals, 26 assists) in 73 games this season split with the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas, including 15 (three goals, 12 assists) in 23 games with the Stars.

Panthers cap sweep of Hurricanes with last-minute goal

Panthers cap sweep of Hurricanes with last-minute goal

Matthew Tkachuk scored his second goal of the night with five seconds remaining in regulation and the Florida Panthers punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday in Sunrise, Fla.

The Panthers completed a four-game sweep of the Eastern Conference finals to seal their second trip to the title round. They were sweep in the 1996 finals by the Colorado Avalanche.

With Florida on a power play, Tkachuk calmly took the puck to the front of the net and tallied his ninth goal of the playoffs to complete the series. Tkachuk scored three winning goals in the best-of-seven set, the others coming in the fourth overtime in Game 1 and the first OT in Game 2.

His goal ties the NHL record for the latest series-winning goal in regulation. The Toronto Maple Leafs' Nick Metz eliminated the New York Rangers with five seconds left in Game 6 of a Stanley Cup semifinals series in 1942.

Anthony Duclair and Ryan Lomberg also scored for the Panthers, who recorded the franchise's first ever playoff series sweep.

The Panthers will face the victor of the Western Conference finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars in the finals. Vegas leads Dallas three games to none.

Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves and captain Aleksander Barkov netted two assists.

Paul Stastny, Teuvo Teravainen and Jesper Fast scored for the Hurricanes, who have been swept in their past three trips to the Eastern Conference finals. Brady Skjei and Jordan Martinook collected a pair of assists apiece, and goalie Frederik Andersen stopped 20 shots.

Duclair sent the Panthers off and running when he opened the scoring 41 seconds into the game, and Tkachuk doubled the lead with a power-play goal just past the midway point of the opening frame.

The Hurricanes drew even when Stastny netted his fourth of the playoffs to put the visitors on the board at 13:03 of the first period and Teravainen scored his first of the postseason at 2:51 of the second period.

Lomberg's first of the playoffs moved the Panthers ahead again midway through the second period, but Fast tied the clash again with 3:22 remaining in regulation.

Both sides lost players due to in-game injuries. Florida forward Eetu Luostarinen left the game in the second period after blocking a shot with his leg.

Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin was on the receiving end of a clean but hard hit from Sam Bennett and appeared to hit his head on the ice as he fell backward. The team said he sustained an upper-body injury.

Hurricanes forward Stefan Noesen also left the clash due to an upper-body injury sustained in the first period. He briefly played in the second period but didn't skate in the final frame.

Sabres re-sign F Kyle Okposo to 1-year deal

Sabres re-sign F Kyle Okposo to 1-year deal

The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back their captain Kyle Okposo for the 2023-24 season.

The team re-signed the 35-year-old to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million on Wednesday. The campaign will be Okposo's 17th in the NHL and eighth in Buffalo.

"I can't say enough good things about him as a person, what he's done in the locker room," Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said at season's end. "I see it over and over again, day after day, players are down, whatever's going on in their life, they're talking to him. And I just think it's, we're lucky to have him."

Okposo just completed a seven-year, $42 million contract he signed in the 2016 offseason.

He tallied 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) this past season. He has 592 points (230 goals, 362 assists) in 984 career games with the New York Islanders (2007-16) and Sabres. The Islanders selected Okposo No. 7 overall in the 2006 draft.

Golden Knights shoot for sweep of buckling Stars

Golden Knights shoot for sweep of buckling Stars

The Vegas Golden Knights will aim for a four-game sweep when they visit the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.

The Golden Knights won the first two games of the series in overtime in Las Vegas before Adin Hill made 34 saves in a 4-0 win in Game 3 on Tuesday in Dallas.

"We are just playing as a team," Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev said after tallying a goal and two assists in Game 3. "When you do things right, you get rewarded. I think that's what we've been doing the whole playoffs.

Vegas has won five straight games for the second time in the 2023 playoffs and 11 of 13 since losing their postseason opener, 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets.

Defense has been the key, as the Golden Knights have limited their opponents to two goals or fewer in seven of those wins.

"We're frustrating the top players, skilled players," Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "Collectively, as a group, we're clogging up the middle of the ice and we're frustrating teams."

Making things more difficult for the Stars in Game 4 is that they will be severely short-handed at the forward position.

Dallas captain Jamie Benn was suspended two games by the NHL on Wednesday over his game misconduct for cross-checking Mark Stone in the face while the Vegas forward was on his back at 1:53 of the first period.

"Fortunately, Mark Stone is OK and we've got to live with the consequences," Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said.

Benn had a hearing with NHL Player Safety on Wednesday.

"We went in with good intentions," Stars forward Joe Pavelski said after Game 3. "It looked like (Benn) was going to have a big game. From the couple of shifts he had, he was engaged right away, then got tied up and (everything) happened from there. We've just got to respond better."

The Stars also lost forward Evgenii Dadonov to a lower-body injury early in the first period.

Benn has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) and Dadanov 10 points (four goals, six assists), both in 16 playoff games.

DeBoer removed goalie Jake Oettinger for the third time in the playoffs after he allowed three goals on five shots in the first 7:10 of Game 3. Scott Wedgewood replaced Oettinger and stopped 10 off 11 shots, but Oettinger will likely return to the net for Game 4.

"I thought we had the legs and the energy and attitude to survive (the bad start), but we didn't," DeBoer said. "That was unfortunate. Now we are in a big hole and we've got to find a way to win a game on Thursday."

For a 10-minute stretch from late in the second period to midway through the third, Dallas was also without Max Domi, who received a 10-minute misconduct for roughing Golden Knights forward Nicolas Hague, leaving the Stars with nine forwards.

Dallas fans pelted the ice with debris following the penalty on Domi, resulting in an early start to the second intermission. The Stars and Golden Knights came out of the intermission and completed the final 22 seconds of the second period before playing the third.

On Wednesday morning, the Stars issued an apology to the Golden Knights and the NHL for their fans' behavior. Domi was levied a $5,000 fine earlier in the day.

The Golden Knights could be without forward Brett Howden, who left in the third period of Game 3 after re-aggravating an injury.