Zach Whitecloud took the delay of game penalty that led to Denis Gurianov’s power-play OT series-winner and ended the Vegas Golden Knights season.
But credit the grunt guys: Former Anaheim Ducks teammates Corey Perry (10) and Andrew Cogliano (11) should be recognized for forcing Whitecloud into a precarious position.
It’s Chandler Stephenson’s turnover that is actually more blame-worthy than Whitecloud’s gaffe.
Stephenson (20) is looking to create offense, and tries to thread a difficult (and ultimately dangerous) neutral zone pass through Corey Perry (10) to Nick Cousins (21). Cleverly, Perry re-directs his skate, guiding the puck toward his wheelhouse. That’s a veteran play.
Perry then orchestrates a soft diagonal dump in concert with incoming forechecker Andrew Cogliano’s speed.
The 33-year-old Cogliano (11) shows that he’s still got wheels as his quick feet allow him to get inside on Whitecloud (2). The 5-foot-10 Cogliano uses his speed to establish body position — you don’t want him to get to the puck first, so close to the goal — forcing 6-foot-2 Zach Whitecloud to exercise his superior reach and make a wild lunge at the puck.
Just 1:21 later, Gurianov punched Dallas’s ticket to its first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.