Vegas Golden Knights: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly from WCF Game 3 loss

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It was as tough a loss as you can be dealt in Game 3 for the Vegas Golden Knights.

With the Western Conference Final tied at one apiece, Game 3 was crucial for both the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars.

And it was the Stars who landed a crushing blow as they knocked out the Golden Knights in Overtime, with Vegas once again let down by their sluggish offense.

Jamie Oleksiak got Dallas on the board late in the second period after a scoreless first, before Shea Theodore made it a tied game with a power play goal in the final frame.

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Jamie Benn struck back for the Stars before Mark Stone delivered a huge moment by lighting the lamp with the goal that took Game 3 to contest.

However, before fans even had chance to settle back on their couch after grabbing a refreshment, it was game over as Alexander Radulov scored the Overtime winner.

It was a crushing loss for the Golden Knights who now must win in Game 4 on Saturday, and we decided to break down Game 3 in our own unique fashion.

Let’s delve in…

The Good

The Power Play – As we’ve explored on more than one occasion recently, the Golden Knights have not been great on the man advantage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They’ve been average at best, and even poor when you consider the abundance of potent weapons they are able to roll out on both units.

Vegas went a combined 5/23 in seven games against the Vancouver Canucks, and that mark won’t get it done against better teams.

We are seeing that against the Stars right now so you may be wondering why we have put the power play under The Good category.

Well, when trailing 2-1 in the Western Conference Final, you have to cling on to small comforts and the Golden Knights have scored a power play goal in two consecutive games.

Yes, they went 1/6 in Game 2 and 1/4 in Game 3 and that still isn’t nearly good enough, but the fact that they are converting on the man advantage is a positive right now.

Shea Theodore, who leads the Golden Knights in power play points with eight in the postseason, made it a tied game early in the third period in Game 3 after firing a shot from the point on the man advantage.

Theodore is fast establishing himself as one of the best power play quarterbacks in the NHL, and his team needs him to continue to drive the power play in this series.

Mark Stone – This is more of a Mark Stone appreciation post. The forward was a huge pickup for the Golden Knights at the 2019 Trade Deadline, and he will be a huge reason why the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup should they be successful in their ultimate mission this year.

We’ve become accustomed to Stone delivering huge moments for the Golden Knights and playing with ice in his veins, and that was certainly the case in the deep throes of Game 3.

Trailing by a goal midway through the third period, Stone did what only Mark Stone can do and that was put the game on his stick.

Okay, the game-tying goal was lucky as Alex Tuch‘s shot from the circle bounced off Stone and into the net, but you can’t deny the fact that Stone did his job by getting to the net and providing some heavy traffic in-front of Stars goalie Anton Khubodin.

And, while that goal ultimately didn’t count for anything, if the Golden Knights are to overcome the massive challenge that is the Stars and advance through to the Stanley Cup Final, then they will need Mark Stone to continue to come up big.

Anton Khudobin #35 of the Dallas Stars stops a shot by Alex Tuch #89 of the Vegas Golden Knights
Anton Khudobin #35 of the Dallas Stars stops a shot by Alex Tuch #89 of the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Final.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Alex Tuch – We have seen Alex Tuch at the peak of his powers inside The Bubble, and he’s been a real X-Factor for the Golden Knights.

He has 11 points (8 G, 3 A) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the forward picked up a primary helper on Mark Stone’s game-tying goal in the third period in Game 3.

But a lot of Tuch’s brilliance came in the underlying stats, as backed up by this Tweet from The Athletic’s Jesse Granger:

You need secondary scoring in order to succeed in the postseason and Tuch has certainly provided that for Vegas.

The Bad

Odd-man rushes – Control the puck as much as you want, dominate in a plethora of different metrics all you want, it doesn’t matter if you don’t win hockey games.

Especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And there was one major bugaboo in Game 3 that proved to be the downfall of the Golden Knights.

Breakaways and odd-man rushes.

Dallas generated eight chances off the rush on Thursday and they scored all three of their goals off rushes.

While the Golden Knights led in shot attempts (73-44), shots on goal (40-23), high-danger scoring chances (14-9) in addition to a number of other metrics, you aren’t going to win hockey games if you give up that many odd-man rushes.

It is something Vegas will need to tidy up on before Game 4.

The Ugly

Finding Twine – As mentioned above, the Golden Knights have dominated in most aspects in this series so far.

However, in the wake of Game 3, they have now scored just five goals in three games and they just can’t seem to get the puck past Anton Khudobin.

While the large amount of shots on goal and high-danger chances the Knights are generating per game is encouraging, the Golden Knights can’t afford to keep on failing to turn their domination into goals and wins.

Next. Three Keys to beating the Stars in Game 3. dark

A similar lack of offense and a loss in Game 4 would be crushing, and the Golden Knights need to figure out a way to turn their domination into all-important wins.