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Stars vs. Golden Knights score: Dallas holds off Vegas in Game 7, advances to play Avalanche in second round

The Dallas Stars have survived a first-round scare from the Vegas Golden Knights after winning Game 7, 2-1. As is usually the case in these types of games, it wasn’t the prettiest goal that made the biggest difference.

Just 44 seconds into the third period, Stars fourth-line forward Radek Faska threw a seemingly harmless backhand shot at the net. The puck found its way through the traffic in front, escaped the eyes of Golden Knight goaltender Adin Hill and hit the back of the net to give Dallas a 2-1 lead.

They don’t ask how. They just ask how many, and the Stars had one more than the Golden Knights on Sunday.

While Faksa’s goal won’t win any beauty contests or style points, Wyatt Johnston only added to his growing playoff legacy with a gorgeous tally to break the ice in the first period. Johnston picked off a sloppy clearing attempt by Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore, took a few strides into the offensive zone and let a seed fly just over the left pad of Hill.

At just 20 years old, Johnston already has four goals and three assists in these playoffs, including the overtime winner in Game 3. In a postgame interview with TNT’s Jackie Redmond, Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger said Johnston never gets shaken, except maybe when he’s on the putting green.

“Just on the golf course, that’s the only time I’ve seen him fazed,” Oettinger said. “Not on the ice for sure. Just a great kid. Great human being, and it’s fun to watch what he’s doing right now.”

While the Stars were able to come up with a couple of key plays in big moments, the Golden Knights will be kicking themselves over a couple of missed chances, no one more so than Jack Eichel

Late in the second period, Eichel missed a glorious opportunity that would have given his side the lead. Eichel danced through the Dallas defense and fooled Oettinger, but his backhand attempt missed a gaping cage and kicked off the side of the net.

This series was highly anticipated and it did not disappoint. Despite the distance between these two teams in the standings, it was a clash of two true Stanley Cup contenders and one had to lose. The Stars deserved to pull out out the win, but the defending champs brought plenty of fight in what was a true heavyweight bout.

The Stars will now move on to face their Central Division rival, the Colorado Avalance, in the conference semifinals. The Golden Knights will head home as their Stanley Cup title defense ends early.

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