WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
DALLAS 3 – VEGAS 2 (OT)
DALLAS WINS SERIES 4-1
Once again, a lack of scoring haunted the Vegas Golden Knights as they dropped their third straight game in the series by a single goal and were eliminated by the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime.
Chandler Stephenson and Reilly Smith scored for Vegas in the loss, while Robin Lehner made 23 saves on 26 shots in taking the loss.
One of the most consistent themes for Vegas in the series has been the lack of scoring, reaching three goals in a game only once when they won Game Two. Many of the big guns have been absent for the Golden Knights and that continued Monday night. However, when you establish a 2-0 lead just 15 seconds into the third period, defensively that needs to be locked down. Vegas failed to do that as Dallas scored twice in the third to tie the game and then won in overtime on their second power-play goal of the game from Denis Gurianov.
For Dallas, once again Jamie Benn was critical in getting the ball rolling, scoring his eighth of the playoffs at 9:54 to get the Stars on the board. Benn really stepped up his game against the Golden Knights, extending his goal-scoring streak to three games with the marker. Gurianov (1-1-2) and John Klingberg (0-2-2) posted multi-point games in the win.
Also of note for the breakdown is the Golden Knights giving up a pair of power-play goals including the overtime winner. Coming into the game Vegas was sitting 87.9% on the kill, ranked fifth among playoff teams and best among the remaining four clubs. Dallas’ power play came in firing at a 25.8% rate, so the matchup was bound to be key. When Zach Whitecloud inadvertently sent the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty 2:15 into OT, I had a sinking feeling. Vegas once again looked tired in the third giving up the lead. It takes legs to get through a penalty kill. Sure enough, the Stars got Lehner moving laterally and exposed a hole between his glove and his body for the series winner.
- Shea Theodore continued his emergence as one of the top young defensemen in the game. He led the Golden Knights with three power play goals, 12 assists and 19 points, while his plus-7 rating was second only to Alec Martinez at plus-11.
- Alex Tuch led the playoffs with eight goals including a four-game goal scoring streak at one point. Theodore and Mark Stone tied for second with seven goals each.
- Anton Khudobin finished the series strong with 34 saves and his second overtime win in three games. For the series, he went 4-1 with a 1.69 GAA and .950 save percentage.
- The Stars advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1999 and third time in franchise history (includes Minnesota North Stars). They play the winner of the Tampa Bay Lightning – New York Islanders series.