Dallas. The Vegas Golden Knights lost to a desperate team that pulled together its best players to make sure the season didn’t end in front of the hometown fans.
Sometimes it can be that simple. Sometimes that’s all there is to lose.
Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said, “There’s always things we look at, our breakout performances and the support, impact our neighborhood, but they’re also a good team.” “They have good players. Their best players finished the game for them. Good things happen to your team when that happens.”
It happened on Thursday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals with the Dallas Stars.
Jason Robertson scored two game-playing goals in regulation time, one on the powerplay and one in a 5-on-5 game, and the Stars scored a powerplay goal from Joe Pavelski with 3:18 left in overtime to secure a 3–2 Was. Victory at American Airlines Center
The Golden Knights lead the best-of-7 series 3-1. Game 5 will be played Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (8:00 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“I thought they were much better today,” said Vegas Flames forward Jonathan Marcheau. “We’re trying to play right, but their frustration was a little stronger than ours. At this time of year it’s not about tic-tac-toe, it’s about who wants it more, and I felt That they want it more than us. Tonight.”
This should not be surprising. The Golden Knights lead the series 3–0; The Stars had a season on the line. If they weren’t desperate enough to push and throw everything they had at the Golden Knights, it would be both shocking and disappointing for them.
Vegas expected this even with the absence of Dallas forwards Jamie Benn (ineligible for two games) and Evgeny Dadonov (upper body).
It’s not that the Golden Knights handled it poorly, but they could have handled the Stars’ frustration better than they did.
“Our level of effort, I think, was not good enough,” Marcheau said. “Closing the series, it’s probably the toughest game of the series, right. So he’s not good enough for our group.”
Vegas moaned for most of the first two periods because even though the score was 2–2, it was clear that the Stars were the best team on the ice for 40 minutes.
They had a 30–23 edge on goals and a 53–37 edge on total shots. He won 56.7 percent (21 of 38) of his faceoffs, including 72.2 percent (13 of 18) in the first period.
“I thought our success was not good enough,” Marchesault said.
“It’s on us,” he said. “In the beginning we weren’t quick enough. I don’t think we scored much below the goal line. Now, when you score the ball, you’re already tired. When they pass through, you change are and not in your structure.
This gave Dallas more center court space than in the first three games. Hasle managed to create a few chances.
“They were better than us,” said Cassidy. “They won more puck battles. If you look at the faceoffs, they were heavily skewed towards them. It’s your first competitive action of the shift – it’s a one-on-one. I thought that was the only time we beat them.” And both goalkeepers were good, made some saves.
The Golden Knights fired 14 shots on Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger in the third period. He stopped everyone.
Las Vegas goalie Adin Hill stopped all eight balls he faced in Game 3, including a great left court save by Fredrik Olofsson with 1:58 left.
The hill was on all night. He made 39 saves.
“He was excellent,” Cassidy said. “Can’t blame him for any heads up.”