Vegas Golden Knights: Krebs could be the spark this offense badly needs

Desperate times call for desperate measures and these are desperate times for the Vegas Golden Knights.

After dropping Game 4 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, the Vegas Golden Knights are now on the brink of elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

One more loss and dreams of a championship this year will be over, which would be a gigantic disappointment for a team that went all in on winning in 2019-20.

There is no doubt that the Golden Knights have a lot to figure out before a win-or-go home scenario in Game 5 on Monday, including how to wake up a sluggish and lifeless offense.

This offense was meant to be the jewell in the crown for the Golden Knights, but it has stalled spectacularly with just six goals in four games against the Stars.

So, what’s the answer?

Could it be Peyton Krebs?

The high-end prospect is part of the Golden Knights Taxi Squad and was involved in pre-game warmups prior to Game 4, so he would be available should the front office want to shake things up.

And they should.

While Krebs hasn’t even made his National Hockey League debut yet, he would add something different to this frustrated lineup right now.

He could slot in somewhere on the top-six and allow Head Coach Peter DeBoer to tinker with his lines and spread the depth throughout the lineup, or DeBoer could look to Krebs to drive some secondary scoring from the third-line.

A combination of Krebs, Chandler Stephenson and Alex Tuch could cause the Stars all kind of problems with their speed and skill.

It is also worth remembering that Dallas won’t have a lot of tape on Krebs, so the element of surprise could come into play and force the Stars to make adjustments as they go.

Vegas could also move Krebs up and down the lineup throughout the game in order to keep Dallas guessing, giving them a secret weapon with a lot of upside.

After all, Krebs would have gone higher than the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft were it not for a slightly torn Achilles, although the Golden Knights were delighted that he was passed over by a plethora of teams.

Any lingering doubts about that injury have now been quashed too given that Krebs completed his rehab before going on an absolute tear for the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL, racking up 60 points (12 goals, 48 assists) in 38 games prior to the pause.

He signed his Entry-Level Contract and is expected to compete for a roster spot in 2020-21, but there is no doubt that Krebs has all the skill and all the intangibles needed to come in now and try to make a positive impact.

Peyton Krebs #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars in Game Four

Peyton Krebs #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars in Game Four of the Western Conference Final. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

His elite playmaking ability and his high-end vision could help to open up areas of the ice that have been clogged by the Stars so far in this series, thus allowing his teammates to get more traffic to the net and really challenge Anton Khudobin.

Also, there is a rich history of rookies coming in and absolutely lighting up the Stanley Cup Playoffs before even playing a regular-season game.

Chris Kreider did it for the New York Rangers in 2011-12, recording five goals and two assists for seven points in 18 postseason outings.

More recently, the Colorado Avalanche threw Cale Makar into the heat of Playoffs battle in 2018-19, with the defenseman flashing glimpses of his elite ability with six points (1 G, 5 A) in 10 games.

So, there is a template there for Peyton Krebs to be inserted into the lineup and potentially be a real X-Factor for the Golden Knights in Game 5.

While it could go the other way and Krebs could struggle, we have arrived at roll the dice time now and the Golden Knights need to take some risks.

It is do or die time and if they don’t change something drastic in order to try and turn their dominance and puck possession into goals and wins, then they will be heading home this week without a Stanley Cup.

Each game is now a series within a series for the Golden Knights, and they can’t afford to run the risk of not changing anything because, if the offense fails again on Monday, then it’s goodnight.

Next: Sights and Sounds from Game 3 loss

This offense needs to be taken off life support and Peyton Krebs could be the weapon to spark it back into life for what is a can’t lose Game 5.