Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn scored in the third period of a 3-2 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Monday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars will represent the Western Conference in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final after a dramatic Game 5 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Dallas awaits its opponent from the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders series after the 3-2 victory Monday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
"It's a feeling you can't describe," Stars coach Rick Bowness told reporters. "You only get so many cracks at going to the Stanley Cup Final. You have to take advantage of it.
"It's gratifying for the players. They have worked so hard. They have come together and we've been resilient all year."
Right wing Denis Gurianov played a role in the game-tying goal late in regulation before he scored a 110-mph game-winning one-timer in overtime to send his team to the NHL's title series.
"It doesn't always go your way in the first couple periods, but we stuck with it," Stars left wing Jamie Benn said. "[Goaltender Anton Khudobin] kept us in it as long as we needed and we found a way to get it done."
Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson lit the lamp 8:14 into the first period to give Vegas an early one-goal edge. Neither team scored in the second period. Reilly Smith then pocketed a second goal for Vegas just 15 seconds into the third period.
The Stars rallied midway through the final stretch of regulation.
Benn beat Vegas netminder Robin Lehner 9:54 into the third period. Joel Kiviranta then tied the score and forced overtime when he scored on a power play with 3:47 remaining.
Gurianov had the puck along the boards on the right side while in Golden Knights territory at the start of the play. He then passed back to defenseman John Klingberg, who collected the puck near the Vegas blue line.
Klingberg then rifled a long shot on net. The puck was batted around in a crowd of players front of the goal before Kiviranta flew toward the right post and tapped a shot in behind Lehner.
Gurianov played the hero 3:36 into the lone overtime period.
Stars left winger Roope Hintz was on the left flank at the start of the play. He skated deep into Golden Knights territory before he passed back to Klingberg at the blue line. The Stars defenseman skated forward before he faked a powerful slap shot and sent a slow pass to his right to Gurianov.
The Stars right wing then ripped a backhanded one-timer into a narrow gap between Lehner's glove side and the right post.
Khudobin had 34 saves in the win. Lehner had 23 saves for Vegas.
"They played a simple, hard game," Lehner said. "They threw a lot of pucks in front of the net and got a few bounces. They just throw pucks in there and are good at battling in the front.
"You wish you could have come up with the saves there."
The Lightning have a 3-1 lead on the Islanders in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 5 of that series is at 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday in Edmonton.
"We've got a great team," Benn said. "Everyone has bought into their role. This is one of the best teams I've played on. We just gel as a group. We are going to try to keep this thing going."