DALLAS — Even as the Calgary Flames continued to pile the pressure in front of the Dallas Stars’ net for most of Saturday night, the Stars had an ace-in-the-hole, one of the best offensive goalmouth-area players in the history of the league. Once more, Joe Pavelski rose above everyone else jostling in the crease time and again, and his latest exploits have risen the Dallas Stars into their first advantage in their first-round series.
Pavelski scored twice, including the game-winning goal midway through the third period, while Jake Oettinger made 39 saves as the Stars defeated the Calgary Flames 4-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference first round series at the American Airlines Arena. Radek Faksa and Roope Hintz also scored for the Stars, who came back from a 2-1 deficit in the game to record their second consecutive victory.
At the ripe age of 37, Pavelski secured his 14th career game-winning goal, breaking a tie with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for the most among active players, and is the first player in the league aged 37 or older with a multi-goal game since his former San Jose Sharks teammate, Joe Thornton, did so at age 39 in 2019.
“Elite athletes, man. They find a way to rise to the occasion,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said about Pavelski. “Joe comes up big. It’s always around the net. He knows there’s a timing to get there, and there’s a timing anticipating the shot. You can’t get there late; you can’t get there early. There’s a timing with that, and he’s got it down pat.”
Pavelski’s timing, in front of net and at the juncture of the game where he came up big, could not have been any more impeccable. Down 2-1 after consecutive Flames goals bridging the first and second period, Pavelski slammed home a rebound off a shot from defenseman Miro Heiskanen at the 11:41 mark of the second period to tie the score at 2-2. In a near-case of déjà vu, Pavelski’s game winner also came off a rebound that Flames goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom gave up in front, this time off a shot from Vladislav Namestnikov, and the power play goal at 10:05 of the third gave Dallas the lead for good.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 37 pictures in total.