Denis Gurianov leads Stars into Stanley Cup Finals

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 14: Denis Gurianov #34 of the Dallas Stars is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first overtime period to win Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 14, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)EDMONTON, ALBERTA - SEPTEMBER 14: Denis Gurianov #34 of the Dallas Stars is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first overtime period to win Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 14, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Denis Gurianov’s overtime winner sent the Dallas Stars to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 2000. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

For the first time in two decades, the Dallas Stars are off to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Denis Gurianov was the overtime hero, scoring three minutes and 36 seconds into the first overtime period, as the Stars eliminated the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

Gurianov one-timed a feed from John Klingberg from inside the faceoff circle with the man advantage for the series winner, his ninth goal of the postseason.

Dallas trailed 2-0 well into the third period, but captain Jamie Benn got his team on the board, then Joel Kiviranta scored his fourth goal of the playoffs with just under four minutes remaining to force the game into overtime.

This is Dallas’ first Stanley Cup appearance since 2000.

It has been a rollercoaster year for the Stars to say the least, firing head coach Jim Montgomery in December 2019. It was later revealed that Montgomery’s relationship with alcohol contributed to his firing, and he was replaced by Rick Bowness. Bowness recorded a 20-13-5 record during the regular season.

Gurianov has shown a flair for the dramatic throughout the playoffs. Selected 12th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, Gurianov was inching perilously close to being labeled as a bust, before exploding for four goals in Game 6 of his team’s second-round series against the Calgary Flames.

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