DALLAS — Any team that hopes to end an arduous and perilous two-month journey through the NHL playoffs with the Stanley Cup trophy in hand needs to rely on a number of experienced hands who have been through the rigors and are sure not to let the biggest of stages and brightest of lights get to them.
However, it doesn’t hurt when teenager comes along, doesn’t know better, and pulls his end of the rope as well. As of Sunday, the Dallas Stars Wyatt Johnson was officially no longer a teen, but by the end of Monday, he was the latest hero that allowed the Stars’ quest for Lord Stanley to remain alive.
Johnston’s cheeky finish midway through the third period proved to be the game-winning goal, lifting the Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals inside American Airlines Center on Monday. Roope Hintz also scored for the Stars while goalkeeper Jake Oettinger made 22 saves as Dallas advances to its first conference finals since their Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2020.
“That was our best team game of the playoffs. I knew our group would respond,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said. “They have all year individually and collectively as a team, and they didn’t disappoint.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday 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 26 pictures in total.